"We have reached a critical point," said John Grady of the New York Department of Transportation. "We are no longer working underwater where we can't see."
Since work on the new Champlain Bridge began back in June, crews have been busy building the foundation of the new bridge underwater. John Grady of the New York Department of Transportation called it the most difficult part of the project. Now people will start seeing the new bridge take shape with the construction of seven piers that will support the arch bridge.
"Once we get the piers in place later this month, we will start to set the approaches starting on the Vermont side," Grady said.
Over the next eight months, 100 people will be working in shifts 20 hours a day putting the steel bridge together in pieces along the shore. The approaches should be finished by August, and then the arched deck will be put into place. Transportation officials say the new bridge will be more durable than the original and should last at least 75 years. They said the piers on the old bridge cracked because they were not properly reinforced.
"The new bridge is being designed with a lot of protection measures in both the water elements and steel elements," Grady said.
Drivers like Tom Rood of Jeffersonville can't wait to have the new bridge.
"In spite of the fact how fast they shuffle cars across the lake by ferry, it's 7 minutes each way, it would just be faster," Rood said.
"It definitely took some adjustments in the beginning with the schedules of the ferries," said Steve Kayhart of Kayhart Farms in West Addison.
Not having the bridge has been costly for the Kayhart farm. They have crops on both sides of the lake. This summer they had to hire extra workers and bring in additional equipment. But the biggest problem was dealing with limits to the number of large vehicles on each ferry.
"Before we could make a round trip from our field in New York back to our field here and back to the field in about 20 minutes, there were often times I would be sitting in the chopper waiting for a truck for over an hour," Kayhart said.
Transportation officials say the bridge should open to vehicle traffic on October 9, 2011. That is exactly one week before the two-year anniversary of the bridge closing.
If the contractor finishes the project early there is a $30,000 a day incentive. If the project is late, it will cost the company $30,000 a day.
Friday, December 6 2013 11:05 AM EST2013-12-06 16:05:53 GMT
Vermont police have charged a Vernon man for a car crash back in June that killed his passenger.Police say Edward Class, 20, crossed the center line on Route 142 in Vernon and collided with an oncomingMore >>
Vermont police have charged a Vernon man for a car crash back in June that killed his passenger.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:21 AM EST2013-12-06 15:21:30 GMT
Dozens of Vermont nurses are headed to the Philippines to help victims of a deadly storm. Last month, a typhoon tore across the eastern Philippines, killing thousands and displacing hundreds of thousands. TheMore >>
Dozens of Vermont nurses are headed to the Philippines to help victims of a deadly storm.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:12 AM EST2013-12-06 15:12:36 GMT
A plea deal may be in the works for the man who police say torched a Burlington bell tower. The College Street Congregational Church was badly damaged back in October by a fire investigators say was arson.More >>
A plea deal may be in the works for the man who police say torched a Burlington bell tower.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:11 AM EST2013-12-06 15:11:41 GMT
A Vermont family is homeless after fire destroyed their Concord home. Officials say the fire broke out Thursday afternoon on Ladd Road just before 4 p.m. By the time fire crews arrived on the scene theMore >>
A Vermont family is homeless after fire destroyed their Concord home.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:06 AM EST2013-12-06 15:06:19 GMT
Police are looking for a Burlington man who may be behind a robbery back in November. Police say three armed men targeted the home on Summit Street the night of November 18 and took property out by force.More >>
Police are looking for a Burlington man who may be behind a robbery back in November.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:03 AM EST2013-12-06 15:03:04 GMT
A welfare check turned into a dangerous situation in Brattleboro. Officers were called to Valley Street Thursday to check on a 39-year-old woman. While on the scene, police say the woman grabbed a largeMore >>
A welfare check turned into a dangerous situation in Brattleboro.More >>