The regular walkway behind Hughes is fenced off indefinitely while Cornell engineers and specialized consultants from local and Albany firms work to prevent the walkway from falling into the gorge.
The existing sidewalk is facing the double problem of being very close to the gorge and built on soil that is unable to continue to support the walkway.
“It’s a combination of the soil structure and proximity that is creating the problem,” said Jeff Lallas, project manager. “We have to find a way to restabilize the border between the location of the sidewalk and the gorge edge.”
Cornell engineers and specialized consultants are working together to find a solution. As of present, they have performed soil sampling and analysis as well as civil engineer investigations.
“We’ve hired engineers who are reviewing the options, but the problem is more serious than we thought,” said Lallas. “We hope they’ll be forthcoming, but it’s still not clear if we’ll have a solution this season – which is why there is a temporary walkway to provide safe passage in the interim.”
The old path is completely fenced off and the new one currently crosses a terrace of Myron Taylor Hall and then proceeds down some new wooden steps.
“When they first closed it, people had to find other ways to get where they needed to go which was inconvenient,” said Jessica Rubin ’03, a resident of the Center for Jewish Living and a frequenter of the route.
Before they closed it, the ground was already sinking into the gorge Rubin commented, agreeing that it was good that the path had been closed and rerouted for safety reasons.
“Now it’s better that they reopened a new path behind Hughes because people have access to that route again,” said Rubin.
Archived article by Anastasia Handy