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Bridge anniversary to be observed

CROWN POINT - Crown Point residents will mark the year anniversary of Champlain Bridge closure.

A "Community Gathering" will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, at the Crown Point State Historic Site, adjacent to the now demolished bridge.

The event will include a question-and-answer session with Flatiron Construction personnel, according to Karen Hennessy, event organizer. Flatiron is the firm now building a new bridge at the site.

"We will gather out by Fort St. Frederic overlooking the new bridge site," Hennessy said. "We will start our ceremony by 1:30 p.m. followed by the meet-and-greet to be held in the pavilion. We will have a few speakers, a salute to the old bridge by the Cumberland and the Grand Isle ferries and, hopefully, a few folks from our communities will share their stories, feelings and thoughts.

"We have survived this past year, some better than others, and this gathering is not to dwell on the past but to look to the future," she added. "We are here because we stuck together as a community and this is something to celebrate."

Hennessy is asking people to bring snacks and refreshments to share. Warm cider will be provided. People should bring their own beverages.

"The emphasis is on fellowship and community," Hennessy said.

The Champlain Bridge linking Crown Point o Addison, Vt., was abruptly closed last October when engineers discovered dangerous deterioration of the structure. It served about 4,000 vehicles a day.

A ferry service now links Crown Point and Addison, Vt.

The bridge was demolished in December and construction started on a new bridge in June. The new bridge is expected to be open to traffic by December of 2011.

The contract to construct the new Champlain Bridge has been awarded to Flatiron Constructors of Lafayette, Colo. It was the low-bidder at $69.6 million, which is about $10 million under engineering estimates.

The 300-foot-wide bridge will be based on a modified network arch design and will include bike paths and pedestrian walkways on both sides.

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