Bridge design selected - again

CROWN POINT - A design has been selected for the new Lake Champlain Bridge - again.

New York Gov. David Paterson and Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas announced Jan. 14 that a modified network tied-arch design will be used for the bridge.

That's the design selected by the bridge advisory committee and the public following information meetings in Ticonderoga in December.

However, Vermont residents complained that there were no public meetings held on their side of the lake so the decision was put on hold. A public information meeting was then held in Vergennes, Vt., Jan. 4.

Following that meeting Vermonters selected the same design as New Yorkers.

In each state officials presented six different bridge designs and allowed online voting.

The New York State Department of Transportation did not release the total number of votes, but said 80 percent were in favor of the modified network tied-arch design.

The design is a steel structure with a basket-handle-type arch using network cables and box-tie girders supporting a composite deck.

"The selection of a design concept for the replacement of the Lake Champlain Bridge is a major step in restoring this critical connection between New York and Vermont," Paterson said in a release. "New York and Vermont's transportation agencies identified the modified network tied-arch design as the overwhelming favorite of the people who live near and depend on this vital link.

"The next phase of design work will begin immediately as we continue our efforts to restore this important transportation connection," Paterson said.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring or early summer.

DOT has said a new bridge will be open in 2011.

"Both the public and our bridge engineers agree that the modified tied-arch is an outstanding and appropriate design to replace the historic Lake Champlain Bridge," Douglas said. "The new bridge will fit easily into the historic surroundings and be a source of pride for residents of both states for years to come."

The design must also be approved by the Federal Highway Administration, which will fund 80 percent of the cost of the new span. Construction costs are expected to be about $75 million.

The Champlain Bridge was closed Oct. 16 after cracks were found in its concrete pillars. It was declared unsafe and demolished Dec. 28.

Work on a temporary, 24-hour ferry next to the bridge site is continuing, with operations scheduled to begin by the end of this month.

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