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A bridge too far-gone?

Terri Meyfield, a Middlebury resident who commutes to work at a large retailer in Ticonderoga via the bridge, wasn't too happy when a ferry option was proposed to her.

"A toll ferry is a terrible idea. Replacing the bridge with a boat would make my life miserable. I am a single mother, and what little money I make now would vanish by paying daily tolls," Meyfield said. "Vermont's new gas tax, my high property taxes, are just getting to be too much. Why are they taxing us more now, during the worst recession since the Great Depression? If this option is seriously on the table-well, then I am going to oppose it."

One of the first tasks the consultant will complete is an evaluation of the existing structure to determine the feasibility of rehabilitating the bridge, including cost of the work and potential impacts to motorists. All options will be identified and evaluated and public input will be solicited before progressing a particular alternative.

A public advisory committee (PAC) has been organized composed of members of various communities and representatives of community groups. To date, three PAC meetings have been held to initiate dialog between the lead agencies and the PAC. The next PAC meeting will be held shortly after the design consultant begins work on the project.

Historic, business, agricultural, residential, environmental, and recreational interests are represented on the PAC. The PAC will be one important method for the lead agencies to obtain stakeholder input early in the planning process when needs are assessed, objectives formulated, and alternatives evaluated for feasibility.

Public informational meetings scheduled during the project's design phase will provide an opportunity for community input. The bridge's condition will continue to be monitored during the development of the project to ensure the safety of the traveling public.

NYSDOT has established a web site for this project which can be found at www.nysdot.gov/lakechamplainbridge" www.nysdot.gov/lakechamplainbridge.

The public is encouraged to visit this site for periodic project updates. Public comments about the project can be sent by e-mailing to r01-lakechamplainbridge@dot.state.ny.us

Comments can also be mailed to NYSDOT, Region One Design, 328 State St., Schenectady, N.Y., 12305, Attentin: James C. Boni, P.E., or by telephone at (518) 388-0200.

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