Popolopen Creek Bridge
Opened to the public: October 6, 2002
Connecting: Fort Montgomery and Fort Clinton
Overall Length: 336 feet
Bridge Type: Suspended Rope Truss
The Battle of Forts Clinton and Montgomery took place on October 6, 1777, during the American Revolutionary War. British forces attacked the two forts at the same time on this date, with the purpose of gaining control of the Hudson River. The two forts had previously defended the River from British control, by protecting the nearby Hudson River Chain, which prevented the upriver towns like Kingston from the British. Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery were often connected by a pontoon bridge.
In early 2000, Colonel James M. Johnson proposed the building of a pontoon bridge across the Popolopen Creek, in the same location of the pontoon bridge that connected Forts Clinton and Montgomery during the Revolutionary War. With the support of New York State Governor George Pataki, Col. Johnson requested the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering Department at West Point to have cadets design and test different types of bridges to implement at this site. Two cadets in the spring semester of 2001 designed and constructed a section of a pontoon bridge, with Members of the Fort Montgomery Plan Team in attendance for the demonstration.
In February of 2001, then New York State Bridge Authority Executive Director Jack Gaffney met with representatives from Hudson River Valley Greenway and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation to discuss a bridge at this site. It was decided that a pontoon bridge would be too costly to maintain, and that this type of bridge was too seasonal.
In December of 2001, NYSBA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and Palisades Interstate Park Commission to construct a suspension footbridge across the Popolopen Creek.
NYSBA, under the Memorandum of Understanding, was responsible for obtaining the bridge design, bridge construction, and maintenance/inspections of the footbridge structure. Bridge design and construction was contracted out to Cleveland Bridge, an UK engineering firm. The bridge was designed as a hybrid between a suspension bridge and a truss bridge.
The bridge was dedicated on October 6, 2002, the 225th anniversary of The Battle of Forts Clinton and Montgomery. On June 27, 2014, the bridge was renamed the William J. Moreau Popolopen Bridge. This dedication was in honor of NYSBA's chief engineer of 27 years.