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Lake Champlain Bridge future still unclear

ADDISON-Repairs to the long-neglected Crown Point Bridge across Lake Champlain will be completed in a few weeks, according to New York State Department of Transportation officials. The officials faced a crowd of 198 residents of Vermont and New York gathered in Addison, Oct. 8.

The bridge's future is uncertain as current work being done on the structure is, at best, a short-term fix. When the work is completed both lanes will be reopened.

"We have to make sure that the repairs are sufficient to carry the loads," according to James Boni, the New York-based project manager.

Boni confirmed that the bridge, built in the 1920s, has significant structural damage; beyond the temporary repairs, it will have to be rebuilt or completely replaced. New York DOT says options include replacing the bridge with a toll ferry or relocating the bridge near the Town of Ticonderoga.

"It will take at least four years to determine which replacement route is the way to go," Boni said.

A New York DOT survey conducted during August and September revealed that nearly 50 percent of bridge users live on one side of the structure and commute to work on the other.

Marie Marton, a long-time resident of Ticonderoga, said she uses the bridge every day to commute to work in Middlebury.

"This whole mess has my blood boiling," said Marton. "Replacing the bridge with either a toll ferry or a toll bridge will be a real killer for me and a lot of folks like me. I don't make a lot of money. It's just too bad the responsible parties neglected this bridge for so long; now it's a total mess. Shame on the elected officials of both states for being so irresponsible. As usual, the taxpayers are going to have to suffer."

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