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Historic site on Lake Champlain looks to future bridge

CROWNPOINT-The Crown Point State Historic Site has a long history, but its top attraction this summer may be something that is yet to happen.

The site - open in the summer only - is the prime location to watch construction of the new Lake Champlain Bridge that links Crown Point with Chimney Point, Vt.

"Come view the Lake Champlain Bridge, a once-in-a-lifetime sight, not-to-be-missed," said Tom Hughes, site manager. "Take the day off - bring your cameras and your binoculars."

A highlight of the bridge construction will be the arch-raising. No date has been determined for the structural feat.

The Champlain Bridge linking Crown Point o Addison, Vt., was abruptly closed in October 2009 when engineers discovered dangerous deterioration of the structure. It served about 4,000 vehicles a day.

A ferry service now links Crown Point and Vermont.

The bridge was demolished in December 2009 and construction started on a new bridge in June 2010. The new bridge is expected to be open to traffic by October 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.

The Crown Point State Historic Site will mark its 101st anniversary this year. The historic fort ruins at Crown Point became a permanently-preserved state park April 22, 1910.

Crown Point State Historic Site is one of 35 historic sites and 174 parks operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. It boasts two National Historic Landmarks on 380 acres of Lake Champlain waterfront, the stone remains of the French-built Fort St. Frederic (1734-1759) and the British Crown Point fort (1759-1773).

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