Bridge celebration postponed until May 2012

DOT uncertain when Champlain span will be ready

— While the opening date seems uncertain, work is continuing. The structure is taking shape between Crown Point and Addison, Vt.

“In terms of construction, we have completed assembly of the center arch span and are installing support cables and lighting on the arch,” Breen said. “We are pouring concrete decks on both the Vermont and New York sides of the bridge.”

At the same time the bridge arch is being constructed on barges in Port Henry and will be floated to the structure later this month, Breen said.

“We’re planning to lift the arch into place late this month,” she said. “The process will take two days. First, the arch will be loaded onto barges at Valez Marine and floated down the lake to the bridge site. A safe zone will be established around the arch barges during the transport, but the lake will not be closed. The arch will then have to be connected to lifting cables. The actual lift will occur on the second day and is expected to take between 12 and 18 hours. The main navigational channel under the bridge will be closed during the lift.”

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

While the opening celebration is being postponed, the Lake Champlain Bridge Coalition is still planning a small event Oct. 16 to mark the two-year anniversary of the bridge closing. The Lake Champlain Bridge was immediately closed Oct. 16, 2009, when state transportation officials, without warning, declared it unsafe.

“We’ll still mark the occasion,” Hennessy said. “We don’t want people to forget we’ve been without a bridge for 720 days.”

The bridge served about 3,000 vehicles a day, meaning people who used the bridge daily to reach their jobs, health care facilities, grocery stores and other necessities were forced to take detours lasting up to four hours. The closing led to the closure of businesses on both sides of the lake and crippled tourism.

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