CROWN POINT/ADDISON - Local New York and Vermont residents upset with the closure of the Lake Champlain Bridge have formally united. The Lake Champlain Bridge Coalition has been formed to relay the concerns of those affected to state leaders.
"Our goals are to quickly get a new ferry in at the present day bridge site, quickly get a new bridge at the present day bridge site and restore traffic to that corridor," explained Barb Brassard, a coalition member and executive director of the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce.
"Without the Lake Champlain/Crown Point Bridge and normal traffic patterns, local businesses found an immediate decrease in business," Brassard said. "Their losses range from 30 to 90 percent. This is a huge impact to our struggling businesses that may not survive.
"This is the short term impact," she added. "The long term impact would surface next summer when the tourists normally arrive. Without the bridge to channel visitors here we could be facing an even more devastating impact and more businesses closing. Jobs will be lost and storefronts will close. This is a hit that our region cannot afford and could be the death of our area as we knew it."
Karen Hennessey of Crown Point is the coalition leader.
The group formed during a return trip from Albany Nov. 10 where residents took their concerns to the state capital.
About 20 local people made the trip. They were joined by New York State Sen. Betty Little, Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, local officials and community members from Saratoga County to rally support for investments in bridge and roadway projects.
The lawmakers said there are 110 New York State bridges with a safety rating the same or worse than the bridge in Crown Point now deemed too dangerous for traffic, according to a New York State Department of Transportation bridge safety report.