In the fall of 2014, LaBella Associates was selected by the City of Binghamton to provide engineering services for the locally administered federal aid project for the rehabilitation of the historic South Washington Street Pedestrian Bridge.
The three span bridge built of cast and wrought iron members was originally completed in 1887. This bridge is the longest multiple-span lenticular truss bridge constructed in New York State during the nineteenth century. Manufactured by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company of Connecticut, the bridge incorporates the “parabolic” truss design patented by engineer William O. Douglas of Binghamton. The superstructure of the prefabricated iron bridge is composed of three identical through trusses with a combined overall length of 484 feet. In 1969 the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic but has remained open to pedestrian traffic. On January 30, 1978 the bridge was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
A detailed inspection identified several bridge elements that were damaged during a 2011 flood event. Rehabilitation work included timber sidewalk replacement, ornamental bridge railing repair, truss steel repairs, joint seals, structural steel painting, approach paving, and pavement markings. Close coordination with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the NYSDEC was required. The USGS operates a stage gage at this location that is an integral part of the Susquehanna River Flood Forecasting network. The project is also within State maintained flood control lands requiring a NYSDEC Article 16 Flood Control Land Use permit.
The bridge is a well-known landmark and vital to pedestrian and bicycle traffic between the City Center and Southside, so public involvement was an important component of the project. The bridge was officially opened on September 9, 2016, just in time for the annual Blues on the Bridge festival held on September 11, 2016.