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New Lake Champlain Bridge opens with ceremony

Vt. Gov. Shumlin, N.Y. Lt. Gov. Duffy help cut ribbon

Motorists travel between Crown Point, N.Y. and Addison, Vt. on the Lake Champlain Bridge around 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7 shortly after the new span opened.

Motorists travel between Crown Point, N.Y. and Addison, Vt. on the Lake Champlain Bridge around 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7 shortly after the new span opened. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— “It’s more than concrete and steel,” said New York Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, R-Willsboro. “It is the link that the North Country has to the closest trauma unit, and many ambulances run back and forth across this bridge.”

Between Oct. 16, 2009 and Feb. 1, 2010, people had to drive around the old bridge site to get to the other side, a commute of more than 100 miles for work, hospital visits, vacations, etc. While the absence of a bridge was a barrier, the presence of a bridge is being seen as a step toward normalcy.

“It’s a place where fire companies run back and forth between Addison, Vt. and Crown Point and conversely from Addison to help each other,” Sayward said. “It’s farmers who have to cross this bridge to feed their cattle and to get their crops. It’s people traveling into New England, it’s New Englanders traveling into New York ... Today, your life begins again.”

Shumlin marveled at the speed of the bridge’s construction.

“This is the best example of government serving people and getting things done that you’ll find anywhere in the nation,” Shumlin said.

Duffy concurred.

“If you were to turn on the media and the news tonight and any story on any given day, you hear about what’s wrong with government. You hear all the bad things that are going on in this world,” Duffy said. “And today, we get to celebrate what is right ... to be where we are today in literally two years’ time is nothing short of a miracle.”

Other speakers included New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald; Sue Minter, deputy secretary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation; Vermont State Rep. Diane Lanpher, D-Vergennes; Jonathan McDade, New York division administrator for the Federal Highway Administration; Karen Hennessy (New York) and Lorraine Franklin (Vermont), co-chairs of the Lake Champlain Bridge Community; Crown Point Town Supervisor Bethany Kosmider; and New York Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury.

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