Out to Bid!

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September 2, 2018
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Out to Bid!

The Town of Clifton Park is accepting bids on a project to improve access to the Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve.  This will include a prefabricated steel truss bridge reminiscent of a farmers bridge at Clutes Dry Dock.  This bridge will provide a critical access to the Towpath Connector Trail that was opened almost two years ago.  Once complete this will be another access to the most remote part of the Preserve and to the Towpath Trail between Canal Road in Halfmoon and the Water Authority Access Road in Clifton Park.

Bridge at Clutes Dry Dock.

The furthest bridge in the background of this c. 1890 image is believed to be the location of the new reconstructed bridge. Clutes dry dock is to the left beyond the bridge abutment in the foreground and the general store with the wide porch beyond the pictured bridge.

When the Erie Canal was originally opened in 1825 there were as many as a dozen farmers bridges over the canal at and between Mudders Creek (what we now call Wagers Pond Outlet) and Vischer’s Ferry (now Ferry Drive).  Farmers had their homes and barns on higher ground, but extensively used the flood plain with its fertile soils for their crops and to pasture their animals.

Remember the original canal was only forty feet wide and the towpath another 6 or 8 feet.  Bridging a 5o foot distance did not require advanced engineering like the bridge pictured or the 1862 Whipple Bridge which must be over 90 feet.  Next time you navigate the Towpath Connector Trail from Crescent to Vischer Ferry count the number of these pairs of bridge abutments and visualize several more that have been removed over the years.

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