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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.

— After the completion of the deck and sidewalks, it’s time for the installation of curbing, bridge guard rails and pedestrian rails/fencing. Sidewalks have been placed on both sides of the bridge.

Lighting will also be completed soon before the bridge opens. There will be standard navigation lighting, lighting within the pedestrian fence hand rail (to provide adequate lighting at the sidewalks) and aesthetic lighting highlighting the features of the arch.

Post-arch work

To limit the weight of the Aug. 26 lift, the arch was placed without the concrete deck, connecting the 1.8 million pound, 402-foot arch with the New York and Vermont steel work. Since the lift, Flatiron has completed a number of projects on the Lake Champlain Bridge, focusing mainly on the concrete deck work.

•The precast deck and sidewalk panels were installed.

•The final concrete pour on the Vermont approach span was completed on Sept. 30.

•The final concrete pour on the New York approach span was completed on Oct. 7.

Precast deck and sidewalk panels were used to speed up the construction.

Information Center

Archie Rosenquist was wearing his “Port Henry, N.Y. on Lake Champlain: Home of the Arch” T-shirt while volunteering at the Lake Champlain Information Center on Oct. 9. Located in the old bridge tollhouse (circa 1929), the information center distributes brochures for attractions in Vermont and New York and helps educate visitors about the lake’s history with interpretive panels.

Rosenquist lives in the Port Henry-Westport area, and he has been volunteering at the information center for several years. He remembers when the tollhouse was renovated in the summer of 2009, the last summer the original Lake Champlain Bridge was open.

“The day we got our certificate of occupancy, they closed the bridge,” Rosenquist said.

That was Oct. 16, 2009. The bridge, which opened in 1929, was falling apart and deemed unsafe. By the end of the 2009, the bridge was blown up with explosives to make way for a modern replacement. In the summers of 2010 and 2011, Rosenquist has seen a decline in the number of visitors at the information center, even with the free ferry service, located between the center and the state campground.

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