It is a simple bridge, but for residents of one Hudson Valley town, it represents more than just a roadway. As YNN's Alexandra Weishaupt explains, it represents a new beginning following a natural disaster.
ULSTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- A grand ceremony marked by a red ribbon signifies the official opening of the new bridge on County Route 47 in Big Indian.
“It speaks to the extraordinary spirit of the DPW workers who really saw this as a challenge and rose to the challenge,” said Ulster County Executive Michael Hein.
Last August, the road was severely damaged when Mother Nature took its toll. Hurricane Irene turned the Cascade Brooke into raging floodwaters, creating a break in the road so wide and deep that a bridge was needed where no bridge had been before. In less than 48 hours, a temporary crossing was put in place so that emergency service could get through.
Hein said, “To get something like that done in that short of time period is remarkable.”
And once that was complete, the department of public works began designing, building and installing the new bridge, completing the project within months of the destruction.
“Hurricane Irene may have come through and given us one heck of a punch, but our community is amazing at getting up off the mat and fighting back,” Hein said.
nd to make the occasion even more momentous, the bridge is named the “Stephen F. Fischer Memorial Cascade Brooke Bridge” in honor of Ulster County native Stephen Fischer who died tragically in 2010.
“He loved the people he worked with. He loved the county. He was there for almost 20 years and he just liked giving back to the community and being a part of it,” said Allison Fischer, Stephen’s wife.
Fischer was a public servant at the Ulster County department of public works. He was highly respected for his devotion to his community and willingness to help others.
Fischer said, “Its an unbelievable honor that they would think so much of him to do something like this.”
“I couldn’t think of a better person to name it after because it really exemplifies the entire spirit of the DPW and how they have responded on the heels of Hurricane Irene,” Hein said.
And they hope Fischer’s memory will live on as the new bridge serves the needs of the community, just as he had done for so many years.