Crown Point The Lake Champlain Bridge has received national recognition.
The American Council of Engineering Companies has presented HNTB Corp., the firm that designed the span, with its Grand Award.
HNTB also was recognized by ACEC New York during its 46th annual Engineering Excellence Award Gala, receiving a Diamond Award for the Lake Champlain Bridge replacement project in the transportation category.
Both the national and regional awards programs recognize engineering firms for projects that demonstrate a high degree of achievement, value and ingenuity.
The Lake Champlain Bridge Coalition, a local grassroots group of business owners, concerned citizens and civic leaders from New York and Vermont focused on restoring travel and commerce along the Lake Champlain Bridge corridor, welcomed news of the awards.
“We’re very pleased,” said Chris Stoddard of the coalition. “The awards bring greater attention to the bridge and the region. That’s always our goal.”
The new bridge replaced the old Lake Champlain Bridge, which served the region eight decades. That span was immediately closed Oct. 16, 2009, when state transportation officials, without warning, declared it unsafe.
The bridge served about 3,000 vehicles a day, meaning people who used the bridge daily to reach their jobs, health care facilities, grocery stores and other necessities were forced to take detours lasting up to four hours. The closing led to the closure of businesses on both sides of the lake and crippled tourism.
A temporary ferry service was installed to link Crown Point and Addison, Vt.
The bridge was demolished in December 2009 and construction started on a new bridge in June 2010. The new bridge opened Nov. 7, 2011.
The new Network Tied Arch Bridge is a steel structure with an arch along the center span. The bridge’s design makes it significantly safer than the previous structure and will ensure at least a 75-year service life. Key bridge components are designed to be easily replaceable to reduce maintenance costs. Travel lanes are 11 feet wide, with five-foot shoulders that will help accommodate larger trucks and farm vehicles, as well as provide ample room for bicyclists. Sidewalks are featured on both sides of the bridge.