Champlain Bridge: Watching from afar - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Champlain Bridge: Watching from afar

Montpelier, Vermont - December 28, 2009

As WCAX began its live coverage of the Champlain Bridge demolition, crowds gathered in the cafeteria of the National Life Group building to witness the moment firsthand.

"It's like that kid's inside of us," said Tim Shea of the National Life Group. "I've seen stuff blow up on TV. Just to see something a little bit more Vermont in nature and to know a little bit more of the history of the bridge."

Most of those present work for Vermont's Agency of Transportation, which has offices in the building. Richard Boulanger was one of them.

"Historic occasion," he said. "You don't see many bridges blown up here in the North Country."

With only moments to go before detonation, personal memories on the span were sparked.

"I have memories of crossing that thing wondering if I had to pay a toll and didn't have a cent," Boulanger recalled.

As the bridge was brought down, reaction from this crowd was fairly subdued. Of course witnessing the explosion from the cafeteria is a lot different than being right on site.

"It was a lot faster than I thought. It was just poof and gone," commented Hiram Salls, who works in the Agency of Transportation's bridge division.

The AOT will be working with consultants and transportation officials in New York to construct a new link between the two states. Artist renderings of what the new bridge will look like have already been drawn up.

"It is a nice looking bridge and I think a lot of people will be happy with it," Salls said. "You know it's 80 years old. It lived its life. You know, it is sad at one point but there is a nice new bridge coming."

It's in with the new as the old disappears in a cloud of smoke.

Adam Sullivan - WCAX News

Related Stories:

Champlain Bridge demolished

Champlain Bridge: The blast

Champlain Bridge: The reaction

Champlain Bridge: Snow spoils N.Y. view

Champlain Bridge: The cleanup

Champlain Bridge: Seeing history full circle

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