NYSDOT Acting Commissioner Gee said, "The New York State Department of Transportation, working with the Vermont Agency of Transportation, took the necessary steps to assure the safety of the traveling public when we closed the Lake Champlain Bridge. This bridge was an important piece of transportation infrastructure that connected people with employment, education and medical care. Responding to the need for this transportation link, NYSDOT and Vermont moved immediately to restore the connection with temporary ferry service while the permanent replacement bridge was being designed. I thank all of our partners for their hard work and dedication on this project, and I especially thank the communities on both sides of Lake Champlain for their input and patience as we build a new, state-of-the-art bridge to replace the former historic structure in this location."
Cracking in the bridge's support piers prompted the closure and, if left untreated, could have led to structural failure and possible collapse, putting motorists and pedestrians in serious danger. By immediately closing the bridge, New York and Vermont were able to ensure the safety of the traveling public.
The original Lake Champlain Bridge was demolished on Dec. 28, 2009. While planning the complex demolition, the states also worked on building infrastructure to accommodate a temporary ferry. The ferry, carrying motorists across Lake Champlain every 15 minutes, opened in January of 2010.
In the meantime, the two states worked on designing a replacement bridge to be located in the footprint of the old bridge. Several public meetings were held in New York and Vermont and the public was invited to vote in person and on-line on their preferred bridge design. The publicly preferred design, a Modified Network Tied Arch Bridge built of steel with an arch along the center span, was ultimately chosen to replace the Lake Champlain Bridge.
Construction on the new bridge began in June, a short eight months after closing the bridge to traffic. Work has progressed on-schedule, with construction of bridge abutments and piers under way. Fabrication of the steel bridge members is progressing off-site. The project is on track to be completed next September, as scheduled.