It’s been called a miracle. Others call it a necessity. And yet by some it’s a matter of historic proportion. But no matter what you call it our two year and a month sentence of life in the North Country without the Lake Champlain Bridge has now come to an end.
Estimated to take up to eight years to rebuild, the span, condemned in October of 2009, had stood for over 81 years. The new bridge erected in the same historic spot now stands as a shining example of what can be accomplished even when the odds are not in your favor.
The public was repeatedly told just before its closure, that the bridge was safe. Then like a lightning strike the bridge was closed and within a few weeks completely demolished. Any chance of a reprieve for the old girl was sent to the bottom on that cold snowy December day.
Like so many things in life we take for granted, none of us living in the region imagined life without this major artery between New York and Vermont. The devastation on family lives, work schedules, interstate commerce and medical necessities seemed almost unbearable at the time. Locals were quick to realize an extraordinary effort was an absolute must, but the thought of getting two state governments, the federal government and a host of bureaucratic agencies to come together, recognize the gravity of the situation and respond rapidly, even knowing what we know now today, would seem like a lot to expect from them.
We all owe a considerable amount to the many volunteer organizers who rallied to the cause, all of our local elected officials who joined in the effort, the state agency workers and the two governors and their staffs all who clearly understood the significant importance of the bridge between Crown Point, NY and Addison, VT.
Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.