The Brockport Bridge Link capitalizes on the historic Erie Canal guard gate’s advantageous location to create a new nexus of waterfront activity along Brockport’s west edge. What was once a waterway heavily trafficked with commercial ships is now filled with recreational boats (including kayakers and rowers), runners, and cyclists who ride along former towpaths. The Brockport Bridge Link capitalizes on the historic guard gate’s advantageous location to create a new nexus of waterfront activity along Brockport’s west edge.
The “bridge as place” concept is a catalyst for economic development as the Erie Canal once did. The bridge and its landscape ramps create a viewing portal to and from the guard gate itself, making the historic structure part of the larger composition; as Regattas, festivals, and nearby events happen here, the historic structure becomes an indelible part of the imagery of the bridge. This is the reasoning behind its simple loop geometry: the box beam structure and the overall creation of a loop/link between its industrial past and the natural beauty of its setting.
The gently curving weathering steel bridge structure passes by the Brockport guard gate, enabling visitors to experience both the historic guard gate and the Erie Canal from different vantage points. Partway over the Canal, the deck’s surface splits to a lower level viewing platform, separated by a set of seating steps oriented to face the water with a clear vantage point of the rowing race finish line, enabling residents to come together to enjoy a treasured local tradition.
The Cor-ten box girder design for the main span is simple and economical in terms of construction and future maintenance. We opted not to use a truss for the main span because it would visually compete with the existing gate towers, which are open and truss like. Here, past meets present, as the bridge and its surrounding structures form a setting for outdoor recreation, informal encounters, and public events such as the rowing Regatta.
By creating a safe and easy crossing that enhances existing circulation and public spaces on both sides of the Canal, while also providing seating on both the bridge and alongside it, a new outdoor venue is fostered that encourages new public events and uses of the Canal. The different open spaces—plazas, parking areas, building entrances—come together to form the new heart of the campus’ exterior space, connecting the neighborhood to the waterfront.