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Oct. 9: The day the bridge was supposed to open

Business as usual at construction site

Volunteer Archie Rosenquist stands outside the Lake Champlain Information Center, located in the old tollhouse of the Lake Champlain Bridge, on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011, the day the bridge was originally slated to open. Due to flooding in the spring, construction was delayed, and the contractor — Flatiron Construction — was given a 65-day extension to finish the bridge. The new deadline: Dec. 13, 2011.

Volunteer Archie Rosenquist stands outside the Lake Champlain Information Center, located in the old tollhouse of the Lake Champlain Bridge, on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011, the day the bridge was originally slated to open. Due to flooding in the spring, construction was delayed, and the contractor — Flatiron Construction — was given a 65-day extension to finish the bridge. The new deadline: Dec. 13, 2011. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011, was warm and sunny at the Lake Champlain Bridge.

Despite a haze that almost washed out the view of Vermont’s Green Mountains to the east and New York’s Adirondack Mountains to the west, colorful foliage was plentiful and visitors streamed through this interstate destination during the busy Columbus Day weekend.

But instead of traveling over the new bridge, motorists were still taking the free ferry from Crown Point to Chimney Point, Vt.

This was the day the bridge was supposed to open, according to the original timeline set forth by Flatiron Construction, which is building the $69.6 million span. Construction was delayed by historic flooding in April and May, and the state Department of Transportation (DOT) gave Flatiron a 65-day extension to complete the bridge.

The new deadline is Tuesday, Dec. 13, and incentives are in place for an early finish date, according DOT Executive Deputy Commissioner Stanley Gee, who gave a press conference Aug. 26 at the Crown Point State Historic Site.

Flatiron will earn $30,000 for each day it completes the bridge before Dec. 13. Likewise, it will cost the company $30,000 for each day past Dec. 13.

In the meantime, Oct. 9 was business as usual at the Lake Champlain Bridge construction site. Flatiron workers were busy, even on a Sunday during a holiday weekend, finishing a myriad of projects on the deck.

To do list

On Oct. 7 the DOT issued a bridge construction update on its website, showing that Flatiron is still working on the Vermont and New York approach roadways, the guard rails, the open mesh pedestrian fencing, concrete pours to connect the precast deck and sidewalk panels, and finishing touches to the bridge’s lighting system.

To secure the spaces between the 32 deck panels and all the sidewalk panels, Flatiron will be placing rebar between the precast panels for a series of small transverse concrete closure pours. In addition, they will connect the sidewalk panels to the deck panels with concrete “longitudinal closure” pours.

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