08 Nov 11
Lake Champlain Bridge opens six years early
A new bridge connecting the US states of New York and Vermont opened yesterday, six years ahead of the initial projection.
Flatiron was contractor and HNTB was the designer for replacement of the Lake Champlain Bridge, which has opened just two years after the emergency closure of the original crossing.
"When the bridge was closed and demolished in 2009, it was estimated to take eight years to rebuild,” said New York governor Andrew Cuomo. “I am pleased to announce that thanks to the hard work and dedication of our federal, state, and local partners, the bridge is opening far earlier than planned.”
The new network tied arch bridge is a steel structure with an arch along the center span. The bridge's design makes it significantly safer than the previous structure to ensure at least a 75-year service life. Key components are designed to be easily replaceable to reduce maintenance costs. The eight-storey, 122m-long arch was constructed at Velez Marine in Port Henry, then floated down the lake and lifted into place in August.
Vermont governor Peter Shumlin said that it was a critical link for west-central Vermont and New York State. “The structure that is opening today recreates the iconic previous Champlain Bridge, and I'm enormously proud of the design and the execution of this state-of-the-art engineering accomplishment."
US transportation secretary Ray LaHood said: "The completion of the new Lake Champlain Bridge is a huge milestone for the people of New York and Vermont. This project is a great example of the transportation investments we need to make right away to strengthen our economy, ease congestion, and create good jobs."
Construction of the US$76 million new structure began in June 2010 after the old structure was demolished in December 2009. The emergency nature of the closure and the lack of efficient detour routes, led New York and Vermont to work closely with the United States Department of Transportation and other federal and state agencies to lead a replacement project through the review processes and oversights required to guarantee that a safe new structure could be delivered in record time.
Yesterday’s ribbon cutting ceremony was also attended by a group known as the "29ers," who attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the former bridge in 1929.