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Historic Centerway Bridge Restoration Earns National Recognition

Corning, NY - Corning's Gaffer District is proud to announce that the Historic Centerway Walking Bridge has been named the American Public Works Association (APWA) Historic Restoration & Preservation Project of the Year.

This national award recognizes excellence in the management and administration of major public works projects involving historical restoration, preservation and adaptive reuse of existing buildings, structures and facilities. Other award categories include: Disaster or Emergency Construction/Repair; Environmental; Structures; and Transportation.

In addition, the restoration project was awarded APWA Project of the Year at the chapter and state levels. The project has also been given the 2013 Bridge Award by the Western New York Chapter of the Association for Bridge Construction & Design (ABCD) for a major project over $2 million, and the Award of Merit from the International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) for the Historic Preservation category.

"The Centerway Bridge has been a vital link between the north and south sides of our city since it was built in 1921," said Coleen Fabrizi, Executive Director of Corning's Gaffer District. "The thoughtful restoration of this beautiful historic structure transforms it from a simple bridge to an extraordinary park suspended over the Chemung River in the heart of our downtown, continuing as a favorite gathering place for generations to come."

Built in 1921, the 40-foot-wide, 710-foot-long structure originally served as a pedestrian and vehicular crossing of the Chemung River until 1979, when a new, steel structure was built adjacent to the bridge. The intent was to demolish the deteriorating concrete bridge until there was community outcry to preserve its historical integrity.

The structure acted as a pedestrian crossway for 30 years, until 2009 when the bridge began to show signs of significant deterioration and the City of Corning recognized the need for a major rehabilitation. In a unique partnership among the City of Corning, Corning Incorporated, Corning's Gaffer District and the New York State Department of Transportation, funding was amassed to preserve the historic structure as a pedestrian crossing.

Mayor Rich Negri said, "On behalf of the City of Corning, its residents and the Corning City Council, I want to thank the American Public Works Association for this award. We are so proud of this project and how it turned out. I like to tell people that it's no longer a bridge; it's a park that was built across the Chemung River."

The restoration project, completed in November 2013, included the work of many design firms, contractors and engineering agencies. Fisher Associates of Rochester, NY handled extensive evaluation and testing of the bridge, as well as design, engineering and construction inspection, while CP Ward Inc of Scottsville, NY, acted as the project's general contractor. Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects of Ithaca, NY, was a subconsultant of Fisher Associates responsible for the landscape and amenity design on the bridge. Ravi Engineering of Rochester, NY also assisted with construction inspection as a subconsultant to Fisher Associates.

"This project is a testament to how a city's commitment to its community and the collaboration of agencies can result in a successful, community-valued project," said Roseann Schmid, P.E., Fisher Associates' Project Manager. "This was a challenging project both in design and coordination. Seeing the end product and the community's enthusiasm surrounding this rejuvenated structure is gratifying beyond words. I am honored to have worked with such a committed team on this exceptionally noteworthy project."

During the restoration and preservation process, crews worked year round. In the winter months specialized heated tents were utilized to ensure that the work being done was not compromised by cold temperatures. In their effort to avoid disrupting the Chemung River below, contractors built special scaffolding attached to the bridge's piers and deck and relied on a custom stairway system to maneuver around the underside of the bridge. No building materials were ever in contact with the surface of the river.

In addition to special building elements, the design of the bridge was done with precise detail in coordination with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. It is not an exact replica of the original structure, but the refurbished Centerway Walking Bridge has the same historical character and many of its surface elements pay homage to its celebrated heritage.

New and interesting features of the bridge incorporate the history and the environment of the Corning area and Chemung River Basin. The bridge acts as a walking park with green lawns and perennial gardens. The space also strives to be educational, community friendly and interactive with bronze animal tracks, a maze, glass pavers and fun horizontal stripes to break up the pavement.

A sprinkler system on the bridge facilitates maintaining the plantings during the summer months. An intricate drainage system under the deck collects the surface water and conveys it to the river below to prevent water from infiltrating the concrete arches.

For more information on the rehabilitation of the Historic Centerway Bridge, or the accolades it's won, please www.apwa.net.

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