For years, the Poughkeepsie-Highland Bridge was little more than a standing advertisement for tetanus shots.
After a fire in 1974 ended the span’s life as a railway connection to the east and west banks of the Hudson River, the bridge sat lifeless and left to rust away just begging to tell it’s historic story.
As it turns out, the steel that was used to build the span in 1886 was still strong enough to serve a purpose 123 years later. The rust that had residents complaining was hiding a potential cash cow for the Hudson Valley.
In 2008, the decision was made to refurbish the bridge into The Walkway Over the Hudson, which would turn the world’s oldest steel cantilever bridge into the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge.
Before the park was opened, it was estimated that that the bridge would draw in between 250,000 and 300,000 visitors in it’s first year of operation and inject over $21 million in annual spending across the region.
Since opening in October 2009, over 1 million people have visited the state run park. Updated figures regarding the economic impact based on the surplus of visitors have yet to be released.
Looks like folks in the Hudson Valley will have to find a new way to remember their tetanus shots.