Lake Champlain Bridge Opens Today!

It is hard to believe, but the ribbon cutting ceremony for the 2011 Lake Champlain Bridge is set for today, November 7, at 2:30 pm.Read the article from the Burlington Free Press.

Just over two years ago (two years and one month), the 1929 Lake Champlain Bridge was closed to traffic. In December 2009, the decision was made to replace the bridge and on December 28, 2009 the bridge was demolished by way of explosion. Since then the old bridge was removed from the lake and the new bridge constructed. It is an amazingly short period of time for such a large construction project.

The new bridge looks fantastic and I’m excited to walk across on the sidewalks; the views are spectacular. If you’re driving through the Champlain Valley region, a visit to the new bridge and the adjacent historic sites will certainly be worthwhile.

While the new bridge will be open to traffic and the ferry shut down, there is still a lot of work to be done. The cleanup process will take a while and next year the historic sites will be restored (and enhanced).

I’ve been studying the case of the 1929 bridge and working with the 2011 bridge since I started grad school in September 2009. It’s been quite a ride! Here are a few photo flashbacks:

November 2009.

June 2010.

Setting the first girder - January 27, 2011.

View from Vermont, April 14, 2011.

August 2011.

Lake Champlain Bridge Arch Lift on August 27, 2011.

My how far we’ve come. To find all of the Preservation in Pink posts about the Lake Champlain Bridge click here.  More to come!

Lake Champlain Bridge Arch Lift

Three weeks ago on a beautiful Friday, many Vermonters and New Yorkers spent the entire day watching the arch center span be lifted. After 14 months of watching the bridge construction through sun, rain, wind, snow, sleet, cold and all other weather, this sunny, perfectly calm day was one of my favorite days ever. You’ve probably seen many bridge photos, if you’ve been looking, since they are all over the web, so here are just a few (or many…) of my favorites. Enjoy.

(These are large files, so click and zoom for greater detail. They may appear blurry in a small size, but they are actually very clear when viewed larger.)

Just as the arch is arriving to the bridge. It was floated upstream from Port Henry.

Morning fog was heavy in the Champlain Valley.

View from the ferry.

The benefits of a zoom camera -- up close for scale. Port Henry NY in the background.

Looking from New York to Vermont, with the sun starting to shine through the clouds.

Looking to Chimney Point State Historic Site, VT. The bridge is behind the trees.

Around lunchtime, view from Vermont.

Later in the morning.

Picture perfect afternoon on the lake.

Zooming in from Crown Point State Historic Site, NY.

Mr. Stilts came along, too.

From New York.

It moved slowly. We picked a point to watch.

Just one of the many, many boats out for the show. Doesn't this make you want to visit the Champlain Valley?

View from New York at Crown Point Memorial Lighthouse and pier in the late afternoon.

Still watching movements.

Pier 4.

Around 5pm on the ferry.

The sun was still shining.

Heading back to Vermong on the ferry.

I couldn’t stay until the arch was set; that wouldn’t happen until after dark. But it was such a wonderful day; it was amazing to see this after seeing the entire project over the past 14 months. The bridge is not open yet, as there is still much work to do. But it’s getting closer everyday. What a project!

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You are welcome to use any of these photos, but please give credit to Kaitlin O’Shea and Preservation in Pink. Thanks!

Lake Champlain Bridge Demolition

For those who haven’t heard, the Lake Champlain Bridge is scheduled to be demolished on Wednesday December 23, 2009 at 10am. (Talk about a terrible Christmas present for preservationists, huh?)

See this NYSDOT Press Release. The public may view the demolition at specific areas, such as on Vermont 125 (read this release from VTrans). If you are unable to attend the demolition, it will also be available online via live streaming – see the NYSDOT website on Wednesday morning.

How do preservationists feel about watching the demolition of a bridge they fought to save? Is it a once-in-a-lifetime type of situation or more of an I-can’t-bear-to-watch issue or more like I-will-not-dignify-this-decision-by-watching-it? What lessons could preservationists learn from watching it? Please share your thoughts.

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UPDATE: NYSDOT has issued a press release stating that the bridge demolition will be on December 28, not December 23. Read it here.