BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — Starting Monday, the historic Erie Canal lift bridge on Route 19/Main Street through Brockport will be closed for 18 months to replace the deck and make other upgrades. 

Brandon Isaac with RESN Gaming says this bridge is a major thoroughfare not just for the village, but for the region.  

“I mean, 90% of the traffic in Brockport comes down this street and across the bridge right there,” he said.

The Department of Transportation said this is all to enhance safety and it’s part of a larger $28 million project with other canal bridges in the region. 

Jimmy Z’s has been serving plates and shakes to Brockport now for 20 years. The owner says this is nothing new for the area.

“They’ve done it in every one of our communities. It has to get done. We just have to prepare for it,” said Jimmy Zisovski.

The village he feels is ready. So does Josephine Matela with the Red Bird Cafe

“This is a historic bridge as are the other ones along the canal and they need to be fixed,” she said.

She said the community is connecting to get creative and work together to ensure customers keep coming. “(Making) sure we are out there and visible, so that people know we’re still here, we’re open,” said Matela.

Tim Russell opened up ‘Port Pockets and Deli‘ during COVID. He said if he got through that, he can pull this off. 

“So, it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a learning curve for everyone,” said Russell.

Thomas Willis of ‘Collectables and More‘ says he’s already figuring out guaranteed ways to keep customers coming. “We have other means of selling whether it be eBay, whatnot, a live website,” he said.

But all of this doesn’t mean the village won’t be accessible, mind you. “We’re very lucky to have two bridges that are within a quarter of a mile on each end,” said Zisovski.

Now, Karen Maynard of ‘Hairport’ wants to be clear: This bridge construction in NO way is going to stop folks from coming to her salon.

“They’re coming here to see me, they’re coming here to see Lonnie, they’re coming here to see Diana, they’re not going to go elsewhere for a haircut,” she said.

The DOT said a detour will be in place directing traffic onto Route 31 Redman Road and to Route 31 4th Section Road – West Avenue. The construction is expected to extend the life of the bridge by 30 years.

Here is more on the project from NYS Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton:

“The Village of Brockport’s Main Street Lift Bridge has been a vital crossing over the Erie Canal for more than 100 years, and by investing in this rehabilitation project, Governor Hochul and our colleagues at the state Department of Transportation are ensuring that this historic structure will continue to serve the community for decades to come. As we prepare for the Erie Canal’s third century of operation, strategic investments into long existing infrastructure like the lift bridge and new amenities like the Brockport pedestrian bridge reinforce the Canal’s role as an economic engine for the villages, towns, and cities that grew along it. Work on the bridge is part of a larger $28.3 million project that also includes the rehabilitation of the State Route 98 Bridge over the Erie Canal in the Village of Albion, Orleans County, which began in November 2022. The project builds on NYSDOT’s prior success in modernizing and preserving the iconic structures along the canal, which includes a recently completed, $16.9 million project that rehabilitated similar bridges in the Villages of Fairport and Spencerport. The State Route 19 steel truss bridge serves as an important component to the historic Erie Canal, which is a registered National Historic Landmark. As part of the canal, the bridge benefits from historical protections that ensure the bridge continues to look as it did early in the 20th century with its trusses and lift towers preserved. This project will extend the bridge’s service life and better support motorists for a 21st-century economy by:

  • Replacing bridge decks and portions of the truss system with high-strength, galvanized steel.
  • Modernizing mechanical and electrical components within the bridge’s lifting system.
  • Rehabilitating the bridge towers.
  • Installing new bridge rails.
  • Implementing pedestrian enhancements near the bridge, including new signage, pavement markings and a realigned canal path on the bridge’s north end to improve visibility for both pedestrians and motorists.
  • Repainting the bridge, maintaining its current shade of green.

During construction, the bridge will be dismantled with individual trusses lifted and placed in a lot nearby the canal, where the rehabilitation work will occur. When work is complete, the trusses will be moved back into place over the canal. Due to the nature of this work, the roadway will be closed to motorists and pedestrians for roughly 18 months. A signed detour will be in place utilizing State Route 31/Redman Road, State Route 31/4th Section Road/ West Avenue. The Erie Canal Trailway will remain open for the duration of the project.”