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Lake Champlain Bridge advisory panel formed

CROWN POINT The advisory committee formed to help plan the rehabilitation or replacement of the Lake Champlain Bridge at Crown Point has some new local representation. Deb Malaney, executive director of the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce, and Ed Alfuldish of International Paper Co.s Ticonderoga mill, have been added to the panel. Crown Point Supervisor Dale French and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward were named to the committee when it was first announced in August. Construction on the span, which links New York and Vermont, is scheduled to begin in 2012, according to the New York State Department of Transportation. The DOT is concerned about the economic impact bridge construction may have on the area, Malaney explained. So, weve been invited to offer our input. The next meeting of the advisory committee is set for Oct. 26. Malaney hopes people with concerns will contact her at the Ti chamber office before then. There has not been any promise DOT will implement our suggestions, Malaney said, but theyve been polite enough to ask for our input. Whether the bridge will be repaired or replaced is yet to be determined. The NYSDOT has set a preliminary budget of $40 million for the project. Built in 1929, the half-mile, two-lane bridge is owned by New York and Vermont. Project costs will be split between the two states. In recognition of the historic and cultural significance of the Crown Point Bridge, the New York and Vermont transportation agencies are approaching a wide range of civic and business leaders to work with us in determining the best course of action for the bridges future, NYSDOT Regional Director Thomas Werner said. The Public Advisory Committee for the Crown Point Bridge project will be essential in formulating plans for increasing safety and improving mobility crossing Lake Champlain. Municipal leaders, historic preservationists, local business communities and residents in both states have been named to the committee. Representatives from the commercial trucking industry and the recreational boating community are also members. The New York and Vermont offices of Historic Preservation also will participate in the development of the project, providing advice to the transportation agencies for both states, as well as to the Public Advisory Committee as requested. The Crown Point Bridge is one of Lake Champlains most prominent landmarks. We look forward to working with NYSDOT and VTrans on improving this important historic transportation resource, said Ruth Pierpont, New York State Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer. The first public meeting about the bridge was held in August 2006 in Port Henry, Essex County. Benefits and costs of different options, potential traffic disruptions during construction, pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, and the historic nature of the bridge and surrounding area were discussed. The bridge was last rehabilitated in 1991. Construction work included painting steel and bearing exteriors, repairing pier surfaces, and replacing the bridge deck, joints and railings.

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