You've got to hope some heads will be rolling in Albany and Montpelier over the Champlain Bridge fiasco-what a mess. Come to think of it, whoever's in charge of putting "CLOSED" stickers on the Champlain Bridge signs on the Northway is being overpaid, too. As of last week, I saw precisely nothing about the bridge being closed on my way back from Keeseville, all the way through town. Bon voyage, Quebecers.
The Essex ferry, as you probably know by now, is running extended hours, with the last boat to Vermont leaving at 10:30 p.m. But Westport has also played a leading role in stepping up to bridge the gap, if you'll pardon the expression. I talked to Westport Supervisor Dan Connell last Monday, who'd been down at the Marina Dock at 5 a.m. that morning for Day One of the "foot ferry" to Basin Harbor. This will continue indefinitely, as long as there's sufficient demand.
The first day of the foot ferry was fairly light, only 13 passengers. If you're waiting to see how it goes, my advice is get down there and start crossing.
Boats run from the Marina Dock Monday through Friday at 6, 7, and 8 a.m., and parking is up at the Fairgrounds. A shuttle will run passengers down a few minutes before each boat. Once across, a bus will take you to Vergennes, and you can pick up a bus to Middlebury or other locations from there (bus schedules are online at www.actr-vt.org).
Boats from Basin Harbor back to Westport run Monday through Friday at 4, 5, and 6 p.m., and the shuttle back up to the Fairgrounds will meet each boat.
Dan also said that Essex County supervisors are still pressing hard for some kind of temporary crossing at Crown Point to go in until a permanent fix can be found. Options being considered include a pontoon bridge, and there's been mention of calling in the Army Corps. of Engineers.
My thought is we really don't want to wait until until someone gets hurt or killed by some yahoo racing for the ferry, or some other yahoo falls through while driving across the ice. You know that's going to happen unless they fix this thing soon. Next week I'll have a report for you, via Dan Connell, on the public meeting in Moriah with the red-faced transportation emergency poobahs on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
Don't miss the Roast Beef Dinner on election night, Tuesday, November 3 at the Westport Federated Church. Dinner topped off with home made pies. Serving starts 4:30 p.m. with takeouts available until closing. The cost is $8 adults / $4 children 12 & under.