Saturday, November 14, 2009

Champlain Bridge



It's more than just saying good-bye to an old friend. For eighty years, the Champlain Bridge, connecting West Addison with Crown Point, New York, has been a critical link for families , farms, and businesses on both sides of Lake Champlain. Also known locally as the Chimney Point Bridge, this enduring landmark has contributed significantly to our way of life since it opened to traffic on August 26, 1929 . Now, after eight decades of wind and weather, it has been deemed structurally fragile, critically unsafe, and vulnerable to sudden collapse. Beyond any hope of rehabilitation, it must be demolished and rebuilt.

For those whose livelihoods have been so intrinsically linked to this half-mile span of steel and concrete, the Champlain Bridge’s abrupt closing on October 16th has been nothing short of catastrophic. What lies ahead? The Ticonderoga and Charlotte-Essex Ferries (see map) have been working overtime to accommodate the increase in commuters, and there is a plan to include a year-round ferry at Chimney Point. As for replacing the bridge, according to VPR News a report prepared for the New York Department of Transportation states that replacing the Champlain Bridge will take about 22 months and cost $67 million.

Meanwhile, in a time of no easy answers, the proverbial adage “you can’t get there from here” leaves no one smiling.


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