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Steel Construction Commences on the Portageville Bridge

PORTAGEVILLE, NY | Modjeski and Masters, a nationwide leader in the design, inspection, and rehabilitation of all bridge types, including long-span and movable structures, today announced the start of steel construction on the main arch span of the Portageville Bridge across the Genesee River in Letchworth State Park in Portageville, New York.

The Portageville Bridge, also known as the High Bridge, is considered to be the vital link along Norfolk Southern Corporation’s Southern Tier Route, a railroad line that runs between Binghamton and Buffalo, New York. Built in 1875, the historic 820-foot steel viaduct can no longer meet the demands of a Class 1 Heavy Freight Railroad. Construction to replace the bridge began in 2015. To date, construction has been focused on the preparation of the foundations and approach piers, which has included blasting of the gorge walls.

“This milestone marks the start of the steel arch superstructure construction for the new bridge,” said Kevin Johns, Project Manager, Modjeski and Masters. “The existing railroad bridge has defined the viewshed of the gorge and waterfalls since 1875. The erection of the first steel members of the new arch bridge marks the start of what will be the new viewshed for at least the next 100 years.”

Modjeski and Masters engineers started work on the Portageville Bridge by inspecting and rating the original bridge, which confirmed the near-exhausted useful life. After helping to guide Norfolk Southern through the New York State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR), Modjeski and Masters designed approximately 4,200 linear feet of track realignment for the project to provide a modest increase to allowable operating speed with minimal impact to the scenic park viewshed or Park resources. The start of steel construction by American Bridge marks a turning point in what is currently one of Norfolk Southern’s largest bridge projects; one that will help to preserve the beauty of its scenic location and continue to draw significant tourism to New York State.

“The Portageville Bridge is a testament to Modjeski and Masters’ longstanding relationship with Norfolk Southern,” said Mike Britt, President of Modjeski and Masters. “We’re very pleased to play a key role in this important project that will help the Southern Tier connect businesses throughout the region.”

For more information on the project, please visit:

Modjeski and Masters

Modjeski and Masters is one of the world’s leading bridge engineering firms, with a reputation for technical excellence and innovation that goes beyond current standards. Established more than 120 years ago, the firm is responsible for the design and maintenance of some of our nation’s most recognizable structures. Services include fixed and movable bridge design, inspection and rehabilitation, and all facets of life-cycle maintenance, research and code development. For more information, including in-depth videos of Modjeski and Masters at work, please visit

The erection of the first steel members of the new arch bridge marks the start of what will be the new viewshed for at least the next 100 years.