For first time since 1914, no canal bridge over Main Street in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 January 2023 at 4:22 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The truss on the west side of the Main Street lift bridge is hoisted this afternoon at about 2:30. The first one was removed with a crane at about 11:45 a.m.

Both trusses have been set on a cradle on the north side of the canal where they will be either rehabilitated or the corroding steel will be taken off and replaced with new high-pressured beams and other steel.

The state Department of Transportation is having a major overhaul of the bridge from 1914. It last received extensive work in the 1980s and has had frequent repairs since then, said Jon Long, engineer in charge for the state DOT.

Editor’s Note: Matt Ballard, a former Orleans County historian, thinks the removal of the bridge today is more likely the first time there hasn’t been a Main Street bridge over the canal since 1859. When the 1914 bridge was built, there also was a temporary bridge in place to allow for some traffic.

Ballard suspects Albion last didn’t have a bridge across Main Street after the bridge collapse on Sept. 28, 1859. That day there were 250 people crowded on the bridge, and five horses. The crowd assembled to watch a tight-rope walker west of the bridge. He took a few steps on the tight rope and then the bridge collapsed, killing 15 people.

Here is how the bridge looked this morning before the trusses were removed. This is looking west from the Ingersoll Street bridge.

Clark Rigging & Rental used a big crane with a 400-ton capacity to lift the trusses, which each weighed an estimated 53,000 pounds.

Here is the scene soon after the second truss was removed this afternoon.

The rebuilt trusses are expected to be put back across the canal in August or September, with additional work on the bridge to follow. The bridge closed to traffic in November for the 18-month rehabilitation project. A similar effort will start in April in Brockport.

The state DOT is paying $28.3 million to contractors for the two projects.

Crane-Hogan Structural Systems of Spencerport is general contractor for the project, with BVR Construction Company in Churchville hired as a subcontractor for the structural steel work on the bridge rehabilitation.

Here are some other photos this afternoon during the removal and lifting of the second truss.

The trusses had to be cut free from the lifting frame at each end of the bridge.

The 115-foot-long truss is lifted over the control tower and wires stretched across the canal.

The lifting of the trusses drew many onlookers throughout the morning and afternoon.

Ken Pettine and Junior LaMartina of Albion missed the first truss in the morning but they camped out in the village parking lot by the canal for about an hour to watch the second truss be removed.

“It’s amazing to see what they do,” Pettine said. “These guys were unbelievable. They know exactly what they are doing.”