A bridge to last 100 years

MIDDLEBURY - "London Bridge is Falling Down, Falling Down, Falling Down... Iron and steel will bend and bow, Bend and bow, bend and bow, Iron and steel will bend and bow, My fair lady." - English nursery rhyme stanza, 1740s

These days, the old nursery rhyme "London Bridge is Falling Down" has a shrill ring in my ears as it might well have in the ears of many fellow Addison County residents. In light of a certain unlucky 80-year-old bridge spanning a nearby lake, London Bridge ain't the only thing falling down.

It's ironic that as we prepare to watch the rapid disassembly of the Lake Champlain Bridge on the county's west side, we can watch the methodical assembly of a new span on the east side.

Middlebury's abuilding Cross Street Bridge, while not a very fetching structure compared to its crumbling, art-deco cousin to the west, provides a lesson at a time when our transportation infrastructure-and its stewards-all look rotten to the core. And when we consider the ancient Roman bridges and viaducts that still support traffic and waterways-some built centuries before the birth of Christ-we have to wonder: what went wrong, structurally, on Lake Champlain?

J. P. Carrara and Sons, Inc.-with concrete fabrication and sand and gravel operations located on Case Street (Route 116) in East Middlebury-is a major player in the building of Vermont's newest bridge in downtown Middlebury. The business employs 150 workers during the height of the construction season. Certainly, being a big player on the local bridge project was a boon for this company; the bridge is also creating a boomlet for our local heavy construction sector. Carrara, with headquarters in North Clarendon, Vt., is a third-generation family owned and operated company. It produces sand and stone aggregates, ready-mixed concrete, and precast/prestressed concrete products.

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