ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Governor Kathy Hochul was in Albany Friday to join city leaders as they unveiled a riverfront redevelopment project six years in the making. The ribbon on the Albany Skyway was cut, and it’s officially open.

The Skyway converted the old I-787 northbound exit at Quay Street into a half-mile long pedestrian walkway that stretches from about a block away from the Palace Theater all the way to Hudson River greenway near the Corning Preserve. The Skyway will ultimately feature pedestrian lighting, some shading, and seating along the walkway with views of downtown Albany on one side and the Hudson River on the other. 

“Today is gonna be exciting to tie in downtown businesses to the waterfront,” Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said.

The Skyway cost about $13 million. The state provided roughly $5 million through redevelopment grants and the Department of Transportation. Governor Hochul defended the price tag, calling the Skyway an “urban oasis” and said it will serve as a blueprint for future projects.

“This is the skyway to the future. This is the future of how we’ll use infrastructure dollars going forward,” she said. “With intentionality of not just fixing roads and bridges and doing basic work.”

Ken Jacobie, of Albany, took a walk along the Skyway Friday. He agreed with the governor.

“This is the new, next level of Albany,” he said. “I feel like we’re gonna start thinking bigger and better. This is clearly something I’ve never seen as a resident my whole life. It’s kind of amazing actually.”

Construction started on the Skyway in spring 2021, and there’s still some work left to be done. Landscaping and the lighting still needs to be finished this spring along with some other construction work. But the Skyway is accessible to pedestrians starting Friday.