Once the Champlain Bridge is demolished, the massive cleanup effort will begin.
The U.S. Coast Guard requires that all the debris be cleared from the navigational channel by April 15, but New York Department of Transportation officials expect to have that done well before the deadline. A company called Sessler Wrecking out of Waterloo, N.Y., will be pulling the pieces out of Lake Champlain and putting them on barges.
"They have giant shear equipment, much like scissors that can cut through steel and they will be out on barges removing the components from the water and cutting anything we need to cut to get out," says New York State Construction engineer John Grady. "The portions that are over shallow water will be dropped in larger pieces, the portions that are over deeper water where we need to get it out by crane, by explosive, will be broken into about 30-foot segments. That will allow us to retrieve those pieces much easier with equipment we have."
State officials say much of the material will be salvaged or recycled. Some community members have asked for pieces of the old bridge as souvenirs. Whether that's a possibility is still under consideration.