Preservation Photos #10

Given the fate* of the Lake Champlain Bridge and the amount of my life that is has consumed lately, it seems fitting to share another photograph. My photographs cannot do it justice, however. Check the Center for Digital Initiatives at the University of Vermont for beautiful, historic photographs by Louis McAllister. The Special Collections Library at UVM has a wonderful postcard collection with many Lake Champlain Bridge views.

* from the NYSDOT website: NYSDOT is expecting Federal Highway Administration approval for the bridge demolition by Monday 12/7. NYSDOT’s prime contractor will be receiving bids from subcontractors for the controlled demolition of most bridge sections on Monday 12/7 and select subcontractors on Wednesday 12/9. Crews will start preparing the bridge for demolition as soon as next week.

5 thoughts on “Preservation Photos #10

  1. Maria says:

    That’s so sad. Can’t they make it a pedestrian bridge? That seems to be the solution in Ohio. Can’t fix it? Really pretty/significant? Make it a people bridge and build a new one next to it. I like the postcard collections, thanks for that link!

  2. Kelly says:

    it’s snowing on this page! I love it!

    That is really too bad! One of the more frustrating things I’ve come across in working with the federal government is that the cost estimates they come up with to repair historic resources are often hugely inflated, often because the estimates are prepared by people who would like to see the resources gone :-\ . “Of course it’s not worth fixing that old thing” seems to be the most common response, and taken for common sense. That’s a really great looking bridge. From your earlier posts, it sounds like just having a bridge is important to the people in the area- do they plan on replacing it with anything?

  3. Sabra Smith says:

    I just read somewhere that 70,000 bridges have been rated “structurally deficient.” I suspect this is because of deferred maintenance. So let’s add up the cost of what wasn’t spent to maintain the bridge and deduct that from the cost to rehab it…

    The Memorial Bridge connecting Kittery, Maine and Portsmouth, NH is a much-loved and well-used local landmark and made it to this year’s National Trust Endangered list because it is important on its own, but I think stands as an significant example of endangered bridges all over the country.

    There’s the bridge you cite above. And this 1904 bridge between PA and NY is also slated for demolition, even though it “an extremely rare example of a multi-span, pin-connected Pennsylvania highway truss bridge.” New York state wanted to rehab the bridge; PA didn’t. So it is slated for demolition. http://www.historicbridges.org/pennsylvania/pondeddy/index.htm

  4. Kaitlin says:

    Good points. The case of the Lake Champlain (that is, losing a NHL eligible property) definitely brings into brighter light the fact of the increasingly large number of bridges at risk because they are aging. When these bridges get to be “too old” they are often ignored and they meet a terrible fate. What really needs to happen is a change in maintenance schedules – as anything gets older, it needs more care. And those who are charged with inspecting and maintaining the bridges should really be educated in order to fully understand how historic bridges are different from modern bridges. The difference doesn’t mean better or worse, just different and therefore, just a separate approach.

  5. Kaitlin says:

    Maria & Kelly,

    Unfortunately the bridge was deemed too fragile to even work on for rehabilitation. At the same time, other sites for the bridge just won’t work for the communities affected, so the new bridge will take the place of the old bridge. The case of historic bridges is so sad; that is one great challenge – convincing modern engineers and the public to respect and understand historic structures.

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