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Ticonderoga bridge work mores on to next phase

TICONDEROGA You dont have to be an historian or have a fascination with old bridges to appreciate one of Ticonderogas most important historic treasures. This past fall, the Frazier Bridge received the long awaited repairs needed for the stabilization and restoration of this double masonry ached bridge. The two-month project was a marvel in creativity and craftsmanship. Reale Construction, the Ticonderoga firm working on the project, along with the assistance from Moriah Shock, the cooperation of Hydro Electric, the generosity of restaurant owner, Darren Geiser and the support from the Town of Ticonderoga, struggled through difficult weather conditions and the physical stress of building the cofferdams necessary to accomplish the repair and replacement of the footings. It was a chapter out of author, Ken Folletts novel World Without End, said PRIDE of Ticonderogas Executive Director Sharon Reynolds, where the 14th century master builder relies on the villagers to help with the backbreaking work of creating the temporary structures (known as cofferdams) that keep water at bay so that bridge foundations can be repaired or constructed. This initial phase of repairing the footings was necessary to preserve the structural integrity of the bridge. The remaining phases of masonry repair, railing repair and deck surfacing will maintain and conserve the bridge and will also improve the aesthetics of the design. All of the improvements being done to this important structure will be keeping with the bridges historic nature. Like many historic renovation projects, the Frazier Bridge has had many advocates in its lifetime that have worked very hard to ensure that the bridge did not collapse. To name them all volunteers, town officials, past executive directors of PRIDE and other leaders in the community would be difficult for fear of leaving someone out, said Reynolds. The Frazier Bridge, built in 1894, provided access to the paper mills along the LaChute River until 1972. In 1959, as International Paper Company began renovations of the manufacturing plants and roads, vehicular traffic ceased and the bridge was only open to pedestrians. Throughout the past two decades, the bridge fell into grave disrepair. Today, the bridge stands as a reminder of the water-related manufacturing activities once centered at the lower LaChute River falls. The Frazier Bridge has one more phase of renovation to complete before the dedication ceremony tentatively scheduled for the Champlain Valley Quadricentennial in 2009 is held. Fund raising efforts have begun for the $80,000 final phase of the restoration. For more information on the Frazier Bridge and other historic preservation efforts in Ticonderoga, call PRIDE of Ticonderoga, Inc. at 585-6366 or sreynolds@prideofticonderoga.org.

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