Lake Champlain Bridge Opens
On November 7th the new bridge over Lake Champlain at Crown Point opened to the public. It replaced a structure built in 1929 under the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was governor of New York at the time. That bridge was closed abruptly two years ago due to safety issues and destroyed in a controlled explosion in December 2009. At the time of the old bridge’s destruction, planning was already underway for a new bridge, with an anticipated opening in 2017. The emergency nature of the closing led to an accelerated construction schedule. Work on the $76 million, 2,200-foot-long bridge began in June 2010. A celebration of the new bridge is planned for May 19-20, 2012.
Before its demolition, roughly 4,000 cars per day traveled across the old Crown Point bridge. The closure of the bridge caused economic hardship for southern Champlain Valley communities, though a temporary ferry service was eventually set up. LCC and others advocated for an aesthetic structure that would complement the surroundings and allow for safe passage of vehicles as well as non-motorized traffic. The new bridge is a Network Tied Arch Bridge, a steel structure with an arch along the center span. The bridge's design has an anticipated 75-year service life. Key bridge components are designed to be easily replaceable to reduce maintenance costs. Travel lanes are 11 feet wide, with five-foot shoulders that will help accommodate larger trucks and farm vehicles. Happily, sidewalks and a bike lane are featured on both sides of the new bridge, amenities that the old one lacked.