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.


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


Building a New Bridge

The sad news has likely reached all interested parties by now: the Lake Champlain Bridge is to be demolished as soon as possible. A demolition company has been hired and design for the new bridge (to be erected in the same place as the current bridge) are moving full speed ahead. On Saturday December 12, NYSDOT held three public meetings to offer a summary of issues and present six new bridge designs. See the presentation here. Now the public is invited to view the designs online and to participate in a survey, categorizing reactions to the bridge designs, choosing what new bridge features are important, and commenting on how to commemorate the old bridge. The opportunity to participate in this bridge survey is available only until midnight on Monday December 14. Participants do not have to be New York State or Vermont residents. The survey is anonymous. Historic preservationists, bridge enthusiasts, historians, citizens, everyone can voice an opinion. This is an important chance to have a voice in the outcome of the new bridge.

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.