Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mid-Hudson Bridge, Poughkeepsie-Highland, NY

Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge from Walkway Over the Hudson
I'm listening to Joseph Bertolozzi explain to me the various sounds the Mid-Hudson Bridge makes when you hit various parts of it with various kinds of hammers and mallets. This is the "album only" track from his 2009 album "Bridge Music", percussion music composed and played solely with sounds produced by the Mid-Hudson Bridge.

Bridge Music

You can hear this music on the bridge itself at the various listening stations, or on the radio.

Mid-Hudson Bridge and Walkway Over the Hudson
Because there were no fixed bridges across the Hudson south of Albany at the time, the Mid-Hudson Bridge   between Poughkeepsie and Highland was proposed in 1923 and opened in 1930 to fill a desperate need for road access. Then-governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, who grew up in nearby Hyde Park, was on hand for the opening of the bridge which would, in 1994, be renamed after him.

Detail of the underside of the bridge
The bridge is 3,000 feet long and rises 135 feet above the Hudson. It carries state routes 55 and 44 over the river, and the toll is $1.50 heading east. I didn't have to pay because I took my bike this time.

The pedestrian walkway on the north side is part of a loop trail that connects with the linear park on the old Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge, now known as the Walkway Over the Hudson, and the topic of another post. Plans are to eventually connect this loop trail -- about three miles -- with the Dutchess County Rail Trail system.

The cable stays on the west end of the bridge
Parking is available at both ends of the Walkway Over the Hudson, with easy access to both the bridges. The pictures from ground level, below the bridges, were at the end of Mile Hill Road, which leads to a small isolated riverfront community.

If you're on a bicycle, you really have to respect roads called Long Hill Road, Mile Hill Road and so on, because... they aren't lying. Mile Hill Road would have been a fun descent if I were any sort of fan of screaming down strange curvy roads at 50 mph, but I have to admit I was clenching the brakes the whole way down. And I walked the bike the whole way back up, too. I'm not proud.

There were a couple more bridges I wanted to get this trip, but I'd been in the sun long enough for one day. The Rip Van Winkle Bridge is just going to have to wait.


  1. Dear Brenda,
    I would like to bike or kayak down the Hudson, photographing all the bridges along the way.
    However, where would one begin? Lake Tear of the Clouds? Where is the first river crossing?
    Mark Y

    1. Lake Tear of the Clouds is awfully historic; that's where Teddy Roosevelt was hiking when he learned he had become president.

      I haven't been to all the bridges across the Hudson; the Mid-Hudson Bridge is the northernmost, and the Rheingelt??? whatever bridge and the Rip Van Winkle bridge are north of that. The RvW bridge is overlooked by Olana State Park, and I'd like to spend a day going through the park and crossing the bridge.

      It's a really long trip by kayak or bike. The Tappan Zee bridge no longer allows bicycle traffic, one of the reasons I haven't photographed it yet. So I guess I don't know the best way of seeing it all; I'd be looking for some sort of river boat tour for that.

      That's something I'd love to do with the Connecticut River, which stretches from near the Canadian border to the Long Island Sound -- take a boat down the entire thing. It would take days. I don't know if that would even be possible as the Connecticut is not navigable the entire length (unlike the Hudson, which is).

      A Google search lists a bunch of Hudson River cruises, but I don't see any that do the whole thing.

  2. What a beautiful bridge. Just crossed it yesterday for the first time...wishing I had time to take a few pics and go on the walkway. This post took away some of my disappointment at not being able to experience the bridge in a more hand-on way. :)