Street reconstruction & modifications
Bridge deck removal & associated structural repairs
Adjacent building modifications
In April 2022, Mayor Evans introduced the Aqueduct Reimagined and Riverfront Promenades project, as part of the ROC the Riverway / Building Bridges to the Future initiative. Aqueduct Reimagined will reveal the historic Erie Canal Aqueduct and transform the Broad Street Bridge into a dynamic public space that uniquely celebrates the rich history and culture of Rochester, New York. This project will include removal of the upper vehicular deck of the Broad Street Bridge, enhancement of the historic 1842 aqueduct below, and creation of an iconic location that is inviting to individuals of all socioeconomic statuses and physical abilities. In addition, the construction of new adjoining riverfront promenades and multimodal connections will facilitate seamless connectivity on both sides of the Genesee River.
The Aqueduct Reimagined project includes multiple intersecting pieces that will converge at the Broad Street Bridge. By removing the existing vehicle deck from the Broad Street Bridge, a variety of options become available to recreate the space and transform it into a pedestrian- and bicycle corridor with a range of amenities. The project will include building out riverfront promenades connecting the Broad Street Bridge directly to Court Street and East Main Street.
Parallel to the Broad Street Bridge design, efforts are underway to assess interconnected roadways to better accommodate traffic needs in the future. Traffic patterns on South Avenue from Main Street to Court Street will be converted to two-way traffic to accommodate the loss of vehicle traffic on the Broad Street Bridge. The City is also investing in street enhancements in the Aqueduct District to complement both the Aqueduct Reimagined project and the investments of Constellation Brands as they relocate their world headquarters to the Aqueduct District on the City’s riverfront.
The Aqueduct was originally constructed in 1842 to carry the Erie Canal across the Genesee River. Erie Canal shipping peaked in 1880 and slowly began to decline. By the late 1910s, the Erie Canal was rerouted south of the City, and the City converted the former canal bed into a subway in the 1920s. Rochester’s subway began operation in 1927, and ran its last subway car in 1956.
The subway tunnel runs directly underneath the Rundel Library and adjacent to the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. The Rundel Library and terraces were constructed in 1936 as a Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. The Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial was originally constructed in 1955, and expanded in 1998.
For the last 60+ years there have been questions about what to do with the old aqueduct / subway tunnel. The subway tunnel has been used for many events such as concerts and art shows and is home to a large collection of murals and graffiti art. Recommendations for the future of the aqueduct have been featured in various planning documents, like the 2009 Historic Erie Canal Aqueduct & Broad Street Corridor Master Plan, and the more recent ROC the Riverway Vision Plan (2018).