ALBANY, N.Y. — A $5 million grant from the Capital Region's Economic Development Council award will help the Port of Albany build a new bridge and expand its footprint by 80 acres.

The region's $83.1 million award was announced Thursday; a portion of the money is slated to build a span over the Normans Kill in South Albany, connecting the port to the Town of Bethlehem and a vacant 80-acre plot the port is working to purchase.

"The acreage is on the south side of the creek," explained port general manager Richard Hendrick on Friday, gesturing to the opposite side of the Normans Kill. "As you can see, we can't get from here to there right now."

The roughly 115-foot span was crossed by a railroad trestle for decades, but the old bridge was abandoned in the 1980s and collapsed into the water in Jan. 2016. Canadian Pacific Railroad, which owned the right-of-way in that area, removed the ruins of the bridge, which will save the Port of Albany millions in clean-up costs.

"That state money will now be better spent, because we can spend it solely on building the new bridge," said Hendrick.

The new span, which has yet to be formally researched and designed, is likely to include not only rail, but also truck traffic and a pedestrian walkway. There is no timeline for its completion, but the port is hoping to make significant progress in 2017.

The 80-acre expansion at the port is aimed primarily at warehousing and building development, but Hendrick says an expanded wharf along the parcel's 300 feet of shoreline could be developed many years in the future.