Bridge design public meeting in Vergennes Jan. 4

The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) will hold a public meeting in Vermont at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 4 to present the six possible designs for the new Lake Champlain Bridge. The meeting will be held at the Addison County Eagle building at 67 New Haven Rd. in Vergennes.

Contrary to recent news reports as presented by New York State, an official final design has not been officially approved; both a popular NYSDOT survey and a New York State-based bridge committee indicated strong interest in the modified network tied-arch bridge design, but it is by no means the final design that will be built. Public input is being accepted until Jan. 11, 2010.

The meeting provides those who were not able to attend the series of meetings held Dec. 12 in Ticonderoga with an opportunity to hear and discuss details about the six possible bridge designs and offer feedback on which design they like best. VTrans and NYSDOT are taking public input on the various designs. An announcement is expected in mid January as to which design will be built.

Monday's meeting is being held in Vergennes due to its close proximity to the Essex/Charlotte ferry so that residents of both Vermont and New York can attend.

"We want to give both New York and Vermont residents as much opportunity as possible to weigh in on the new bridge design," said VTrans Secretary David Dill. "It's very important to all of us that the communities on both sides of the lake are comfortable with the choice that is eventually made."

"The meeting on Dec. 12 was well-attended by residents of both Vermont and New York, however, it's important to us that those who could not attend it or do not have access to the Internet are be able to see the photos of the new bridge design options themselves and be able to discuss them with our experts," said Stanley Gee, acting commissioner of NYSDOT. "The opinion of the public is very important to us. We've received a recommendation from the Public Advisory Committee and have heard from the more than 3,500 people who responded to the survey which was available at the December public meeting and online, but we want to be sure we don't leave anyone out of the process. We are looking forward to a final decision on the bridge design in mid-January and then to moving ahead quickly with creating the new structure that is aesthetically pleasing, environmentally compatible and historically sensitive.

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