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Visitors reflect on bridge arch raising

Horace Hyle, who drove over the original bridge shortly after it was built in 1929, spoke Aug. 26 with Ted Zoli, the chief engineer of HNTB Corp., who designed the new bridge.

Horace Hyle, who drove over the original bridge shortly after it was built in 1929, spoke Aug. 26 with Ted Zoli, the chief engineer of HNTB Corp., who designed the new bridge. Photo by Jon Hochschartner.

— “I’ve always taken an interest in this bridge,” Hyle said. “I guess because I went over it when I was so young.”

Hyle described watching on his computer the old structure blow up as “an experience out of this world.” He added he’s visited Crown Point to see the progression of the bridge construction about six times.

Marilyn Crossman, a Crown Point resident and member of the Lake Champlain Community Bridge Celebration Committee, said her 86-year-old mother, now in a nursing home, came to the opening of the original bridge.

Crossman said she liked the design of the new structure.

“It’s going to be a brand new bridge, but it’s very reminiscent of the old bridge,” Crossman said. “At first I thought I was going to feel sad about it, and I don’t. It’s wonderful.”

Crossman said while she knew of people who were inconvenienced by the bridge closure, she had not been inconvenienced because she was retired.

“We had prayed in church on and off for two years, especially at the beginning, for people who were extending their workdays four and five hours,” Crossman said. “There were people in the area who just walked around looking like zombies.”

Katherine Vaillancourt, of Vt., said she had been camping in Crown Point for 20 years. She was unhappy to see the old bridge demolished.

“That made me pretty sad that day,” Vaillancourt said. “Because we’ve been over here so many times.”

Dorothy Galloway, of Walpole, NH, said she and her husband had come over the last couple years roughly every six weeks to see the structure’s progress.

“The fascination has really been to just watch the process of the bridge being built; this whole thing today is like the acme,” Galloway said.

Tom Henry, of Charlotte, Vt., said he also had a connection to the old structure.

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