Karen Hennessy of Crown Point is co-chairwoman of the Lake Champlain Bridge Community. The group will mark the two-year anniversary of the bridge closure Oct. 16.
The two-year anniversary of the Lake Champlain Bridge closure will be observed Oct. 16.
The Lake Champlain Bridge Community will mark the occasion with live music, a fund raising barbeque and raffles noon to 4 p.m. at the Crown Point State Historic Site.
The bridge was closed abruptly Oct. 16, 2009, after an inspection revealed deep cracks in its support pillars. It was destroyed by a controlled explosion in December 2009 and construction began in its replacement.
The Lake Champlain Bridge Community, a group of New York and Vermont residents and businesses who have lobbied for quick replacement of the span, had hoped to hold an opening ceremony that weekend. However, construction delays ruined the original schedule. The New York State Department of Transportation, which had said the bridge would open Oct 9, now declines to give an opening date.
The bridge is being erected by Flatiron Construction of Colorado. The state DOT reports concrete is now being poured, sidewalks are being installed, railings re being placed and other work is under way.
The Lake Champlain Bridge Community had planned an opening celebration for the bridge, but that was postponed when state officials acknowledged the span wouldn’t be ready. That celebration is now scheduled for next spring.
“Of course we’re disappointed to not be holding the grand re-opening celebration this weekend as originally planned,” said Karen Hennessy of Crown Point, co-chairwomen of the group, “but we still wanted a reason to celebrate this fall.”
The anniversary party will be catered by Crown Point Barbecue Company, which will offer a meal of pulled pork, chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese and dinner rolls. Dinner tickets are $15. The barbecue will raise funds for the Lake Champlain Bridge Community to produce and promote the opening celebration in May 2012. The cost per person is $15.
Music will be provided by the Moriah band Loose Connections.
“With some sadness we’ll recognize the two-year anniversary of the old bridge’s closure, but we’re celebrating all the accomplishments that have been made over the last 24 months and look forward to the imminent opening of the replacement bridge,” Hennessy said. “We’re especially grateful to Joe Bodette, Crown Point Barbecue Company’s owner, for his generosity and involvement.”
Area craftspeople have donated handmade items to help raise funds for the grand opening celebration — a wooden stool, a domed trunk and a handmade quilt. All items will be on display and raffle tickets are priced at $1 each and seven for $5. The drawing will be held in time for the opening of the new bridge.
All activities will take place in the pavilion at Crown Point State Historic Site.
In addition, the Lois McClure will be moored at the Crown Point Reservation Pier on both Saturday, Oct. 15, and Sunday, Oct. 16. More information is available at www.champlainbridgecommunity.org
The former Lake Champlain 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 now links Crown Point and Addison, Vt.