CROWN POINT - Help Wanted: Labors to assist in the construction of the Lake Champlain Bridge.
The $69.6 million project to reconnect New York and Vermont is expected to create at least 200 jobs for local workers, according to officials.
Flatiron Constructors of Colorado, the firm building the span, expects to hire about 50 local workers along with another 150-200 subcontractors.
Mark Mallett, Flatiron project manager, said a construction headquarters is being established on the Vermont side of the lake. Interested workers can apply there.
The federal government will pay 80 percent of the bridge construction cost, using stimulus money. New York and Vermont will each pay 10 percent of the cost.
The groundbreaking June 11 attracted two U.S. congressmen, both of whom touted the jobs to be created by the project.
"This will help create jobs in communities that desperately need them," U.S. Rep. Bill Owens said. "I hope to see many people from my side of the lake, from my district, hired to work here.
"I am pleased to see progress being made on the new bridge across Lake Champlain," he added. "This is the next step in the process towards helping our local communities recover from the economic impact of the bridge closure. I'm hoping this will create employment opportunities for those looking for jobs in the area."
U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy agreed the bridge is vital to the local economy.
"I am honored to be here as we begin to rebuild this critical part of our local economy," Murphy said. "The loss of the bridge suddenly and severely reduced economic activity throughout the region. I look forward to continuing to work with Governors (David) Paterson and (Jim) Douglas to connect our two states and rebuild this entryway to the North Country."
The economic impact of the construction will reach beyond jobs, New York Gov. David Paterson said.
"Flatiron will not only employ people from the region but will use equipment from the region," Paterson said. "When the first car goes across that bridge, it will be a new era."
The new bridge will be built at the same location as the previous structure in order to minimize historic and environmental impacts on the surrounding area. Construction is expected to be completed in September 2011.
The Modified Network Tied Arch Bridge will be a steel structure with an arch along the center span. Steel used will be treated for enhanced corrosion resistance. Multiple redundancies will give the bridge at least a 75-year service life. Bridge components are designed to be easily replaceable to reduce maintenance costs.
Travel lanes will be 11 feet wide, with five-foot shoulders that will help accommodate larger trucks and farm vehicles, as well as provide room for bicyclists. Sidewalks will be built on both sides of the bridge.
The former Lake Champlain Bridge was closed last October after significant cracking was found in the structure's support piers. It was demolished in December.
A free ferry service now operates in place of the bridge. That service will discontinue when the new bridge opens.
In business since 1947, Flatiron has extensive experience building major interstate bridges all across the United States and in western Canada. The company rebuilt the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, following its collapse in 2007.