August 4, 2022

You cannot reach Schodack Buffalo Farm via the Buffalo Bridge

SCHODACK – It is nicknamed the “Buffalo Bridge” because it is the shortcut from Route 9 south along Van Hoesen Road to reach GEM Farms Buffalo across the railroad tracks.

But that road has been blocked since the county closed the bridge after a December 2019 inspection found significant structural deterioration. Barriers have been placed on either side of the short, nondescript span that crosses Van Hoesen Road, also known as Rensselaer County Route 4, across the tracks.

The county said it has the money for the bridge project, but is awaiting approval from Amtrak. The bridge was last replaced in 1997.

“This is an important bridge for residents, businesses and emergency services in South Schodack. Completing this project is a priority and we want this bridge to be completed in 2020, ”County Director Steve McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said the county has contacted its federal officials in Washington DC, the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak to obtain approvals for the work on the bridge.

The Mesick family has operated the farm since 1793. It is best known throughout the capital region for its herd of buffaloes. In 2015, the buffaloes left the farm and swam the Hudson River to Bethlehem where they were killed.

The animals have captured the imaginations of locals who call the farm span the bison bridge. Visitors to Gem Farms from Route 9 should take a detour to Maple Hill Road.

“This is an inconvenience for residents and will only create more problems in the fall for farmers, school buses, motorists and residents. We need to get this project on track to be completed this year. Rensselaer County Lawmaker Charles Peter, R-Schodack said.

The county has announced plans to replace the bridge with a similar structure.

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