ADDISON - The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) completed a critical task in the process reestablishing a transportation link between their states, by demolishing the 80-year-old Lake Champlain Bridge, thus paving the way for a new bridge that will sit in the footprint of the former one.
As thousands lined the lakeshroe in a whiteout to watch the implosion in person, via the Internet and on television, New York's blasting subcontractor, Advanced Explosives Demolition (AED), used some 500 pre-set high-tech linear-shaped explosive charges to cut through the steel at 17,000 feet per second, bringing down the 80-year-old span in less than ten seconds.
Following a burst of bright light and a nearly simultaneous boom of greater than 130 decibels, spans numbers 4 through 9-or more than 80 percent of the bridge-dropped into Lake Champlain. The fallen portions and the concrete piers that supported them will be removed before next spring along with the remainder of the bridge. The lake in that vicinity is to be open to navigational traffic in April.
"We continue to move as quickly as possible to restore the vital connection between our states, and resume normal transportation across Lake Champlain on behalf of those who live near and depend on it in their daily lives," said New York Governor David A. Paterson. "The bridge coming down weighs heavy on our hearts, but it is a critical task that is now completed. The former Lake Champlain Bridge, which served our states well since it opened in1929, had outlived its lifespan. Once the new bridge is built, we will have an even more majestic connection between our states, and the communities in the surrounding areas will benefit from a span that will be more modern, but will preserve the environmental and historical integrity of the area."