TICONDEROGA - Plans to demolish the existing Lake Champlain Bridge and construct a new span have been presented to the public.
The New York State Department of Transportation and Vermont Agency of Transportation held a series of meetings in Ticonderoga Dec. 12 to update area residents on the bridge, which was closed Oct. 16 because of safety concerns, and efforts to replace it.
The existing bridge will be torn down and a new bridge will be built at the same location in Crown Point.
NYSDOT contractor Harrison & Burrowes Bridge Constructors, Inc. has secured a subcontractor to demolish the existing bridge. Advanced Explosives Demolition, Inc. of Idaho will, working for H&B, plan for and execute the controlled explosive demolition of the steel truss bridge.
Officials said details on the bridge demolition will be well advertised and safe public viewing locations will be determined. The public will be prohibited from the area immediately surrounding the bridge, including the land, water and air. Access to certain roads also will be restricted to ensure public safety.
During the presentations Dec. 12, DOT reviewed the design criteria for the new bridge and the feasible bridge types available for consideration. People were asked for input regarding features that should be included in the design, such as sidewalks, bicycle lanes, lighting and materials used, as well as the style of the new bridge.
Stating that the goal is to move as quickly as possible to design a new bridge to replace the now closed one, officials of both NYSDOT and VTrans explained the pros and cons of the top five replacement alternatives which were on display.
The five options include using a long-span steel girder bridge, a segmental concrete bridge, a steel composite cable-stayed bridge, a concrete extradosed bridge or a network tied arch bridge.
Photos and a matrix analysis may be reviewed at https://www.nysdot.gov/lakechamplainbridge/alternatives.
Options for commemorating the existing historic bridge were also presented and discussed.
The meetings also addressed demolition plans for the existing bridge, including when and how it is likely to occur.
Artist renderings showing each of the alternatives are also available on NYSDOT's website at www.nysdot.gov/lakechamplainbridge.
NYSDOT officials also announced that high water has forced the termination of one of the three ferries serving Champlain Valley residents since the closure of the Champlain Bridge.
The Westport-Basin Harbor, Vt., pedestrian ferry has shut down for the season.
The New York State Department of Transportation and Vermont Agency of Transportation have been subsidizing ferry travel, and the Essex-Charlotte, Vt., and Ticonderoga-Shoreham, Vt., ferries will continue to run.
The independent Ticonderoga Ferry normally closes at the end of October, but its owners agreed to stay open as long as possible while a temporary 24-hour ferry is set up next to the Champlain Bridge.
That free ferry will open by the end of the year, according to the office of Gov. David Paterson.