CROWN POINT - After more than 80 years of service, the Lake Champlain Bridge has been retired.
The span, which was closed Oct. 16 after structural problems were discovered, was demolished Dec. 28 to make way for a new bridge.
"It was a little sad," said Nancy Frasier, Times of Ti photographer, who covered the demolition. "After all these years to see it come down like that was sad."
Construction of a new bridge is planned to start in the spring with completion targeted for summer 2011.
A new ferry service is being readied near the former bridge in Crown Point to serve motorists while a new structure is being built. The Ticonderoga ferry is also running with the help of anti-ice measures.
The Lake Champlain Bridge opened Aug. 26, 1929, with two governors - New York's Franklin D. Roosevelt and Vermont's John L. Weeks - leading the festivities.
This week's demolition was nearly as festive. Hundreds of people turned out in New York and Vermont to watch as the bridge was imploded and crashed into the lake. Public viewing areas were set up at Port Henry Beach and Bulwagga Bay in New York as well as along Route 125 in Vermont.
The spectacle was televised live and broadcast on the internet. It was covered by more than 100 media members.
Snow and fog at the time of the demolition limited visibility to a half mile.
Sirens sounded 10, 5 and 1 minute before the demolition to warn people of the blast, but many of those watching missed the actual explosion because it happened so quickly - in about 2 seconds.
Slow-motion replays of the event showed a series of 500 charges exploding along the 2,184-foot bridge and its collapse.
"I could see it well," said Frasier, who was located in a special media zone at the Crown Point Historic Site. "There was some fog, but I could clearly see the lights (charges) flashing, the explosion and the bridge coming down.