"It was an honor to be a part of the effort today to bring down the old Lake Champlain Bridge. This is an important step in the processes of reestablishing this critical transportation link," said Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas. "We want the new bridge in place as soon as possible, and today's effort will ensure that we are ready to begin building a replacement bridge in the spring, when the weather permits. This collaborative project with our partners in New York will protect our treasured connection between Crown Point, New York, and Chimney Point, Vermont that has existed for centuries."
The former Lake Champlain Bridge had been ordered closed on Oct. 16, 2009 when engineers who were in the process of repairing the upper portion of the span detected an exposed crack in one of the piers that had previously been submerged. Despite NYSDOT's rigorous inspection schedule which had shown underwater deterioration at the rate of about an inch every five years for some twenty years since New York and Vermont gained control of the bridge, from 2005 to 2008 an inexplicable 14 inches of additional deterioration had occurred, making the bridge unsafe and unstable.
The 2,184-foot-long bridge, also known as the Crown Point Bridge, was opened to traffic on Aug. 26, 1929 with a ribbon cutting ceremony conducted by New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt and Vermont Governor John E. Weeks. It was a toll bridge until 1987 when the Lake Champlain Bridge Commission that operated it was abolished and ownership was transferred to New York and Vermont. On November 9, after the closure of the bridge and the conclusion of intensive testing, the two states announced that the investigation determined that it was not feasible to repair, and set the course for it demolition and construction of a new bridge in its place.