A bridge too far-gone?

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) announced last week the finalization of a bi-state agreement between New York and Vermont for the progression of a project to rehabilitate or replace the Lake Champlain Bridge-with either a new bridge or a ferry boat-spanning Lake Champlain between Crown Point, N.Y. and Chimney Point, Vt.

No work is planned until 2013, four years after the Champlain Quadricentennial. Tourists to both states this summer will cross a rusting bridge in need of serious repair. Exposed masonry rebar is visible in places on the structure. And there were no plans to cosmetically dress-paint the structure for the international Champlain celebration now underway.

HTNB Corporation of New York City has been selected as design consultant. The project is between NYSDOT and the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VAOT), in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

HNTB is a national transportation infrastructure firm doing bridge rehabilitations and replacements. The design team will initiate work on the project once approved by the New York State comptroller.

The bi-state agreement demonstrates the partnership between the states and the common understanding of the needs of the structure, with no specific plan.

The project is considered to be in a preliminary planning stage and is expected to require the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement before a proposed solution is selected.

Options include rehabilitation or replacement of the existing bridge or the use of a ferry boat. While not specifically noted by officials, bridge or ferry tolls could also be considered by the states.

Old bridge reconstruction, new bridge construction, or a ferry boat to replace the bridge, would be tentatively planned for 2013.

The 80-year-old bridge accommodates approximately 3,400 vehicles per day. There was no information provided by either state regarding the daily vehicle capacity of a ferry boat.

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