Champlain Bridge engineer Ted Zoli drawn to upstate region

— Zoli, who was lead speaker for the Adirondack Park Agency Local Government Days, said he had attended public meetings for the bridge where locals discussed what would become of the historical landmark. He said so much of the local population were concerned for the design process, such as the Public Advisory Committee (PAC), Historic Preservation Community, and the public. Zoli specifically mentioned Steve Engelhart, executive director for the Adirondack Architectural Heritage Center (AARCH) of Keeseville. Engelhart had advocated the bridge be preserved, not destroyed.

“It was like losing something extremely special and really irreplaceable,” he said. “ We simply wanted to make sure rehabilitating the 1929 bridge was looked at thoroughly,” he said.

Although the state decided against rehabilitating the bridge, Engelhart was able to get the landmark listed on the National Register of Historical Places, which validated the importance of the 1929 bridge as a place and/or structure to the region.

“I still think, every time I look at that crossing, that something really important is missing.”

Zoli said by designing a new bridge that echoed, at least in its profile, the original bridge was no accident. He hoped to retain the influence the original bridge made 80 years ago.

The original architect, Charles M. Spofford used freed trusses, which was a new and creative form of engineering for the time, he said. The 1929 design sparked a period that advanced the use of criss-crossed steel girders around the region. After surviving 80 years over water, Zoli said it was not so much the trusses but the piers that had caused the bridge to be declared unsafe.

“(Spofford) not only created a new bridge form, he developed a design method to analyze the system of engineering.” Zoli said. “There’s a responsibility that one tries to live up to the importance of the original bridge that your replacing.”

Ted Zoli will be speaking at Camp Dudley on Sunday, Aug. 21, at 1 p.m. in the Witherbee Hall. Zoli designed the Champlain Bridge currently being constructed in Crown Point and is a Camp Dudley alumni

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