Champlain Bridge: The blast - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Champlain Bridge: The blast

West Addison, Vermont - December 28, 2009

In the middle of a hard-driving storm the Champlain Bridge stood as a scenic backdrop for the last time, brought to its knees by 800 pounds of explosives. The 80-year-old bridge turned to rubble in seconds; raining down steel that mixed with snow.

As one observer said, it was time for the old girl to go. The bridge was closed in October because it was unsafe for travel and too far gone for any more patchwork repairs. After not being able to keep it standing, transportation officials called the massive implosion a success.

"As soon as I heard the boom and saw the pieces of the detonator going off I knew it was all coming down," said Stanley Gee, the acting commissioner of the N.Y. Department of Transportation.

The blast, louder than a large fireworks display and just as spectacular, still caught those expecting it by surprise.

"You see a bridge standing... I will remember for a long time," said Larry Cabana, of the N.Y. Environment Conservation Police.

It was a dramatic end-- blowing up the past to make way for a new span to bridge the gap between Vermont and New York.

"It's kind of sad to see the old bridge go but it's the first day of construction of a new bridge," said John Grady, a N.Y. Transportation Engineer.

The next step: demolition crews are now going to go into the lake to clean up all the debris from the bridge. Even though it's only 45 feet deep there it's expected to take crews at least four months to clean up what once was the Champlain Bridge.

Kristin Carlson - WCAX News

Related Stories:

Champlain Bridge demolished

Champlain Bridge: The reaction

Champlain Bridge: Snow spoils N.Y. view

Champlain Bridge: Watching from afar

Champlain Bridge: The cleanup

Champlain Bridge: Seeing history full circle

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