"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, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
It was a storm that left residents with more damage than they could have ever imagined. "The basement has about 13 inches of water," said Bob Genter of Underhill. And preparing for the aftermath of theMore >>
Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:54:18 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:44 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:44:50 GMT
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend. So far, the impact has mainly been seen in roadMore >>
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
Over the river and throught the woods isn't just the way to grandma's house, its the way a lot of people are having to travel just to make it to their front door. Dormant brooks and sleepy streams turnedMore >>
Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:25:14 GMT
A rainy Vermont City Marathon forecast isn't slowing down runners or organizers. "Well, we're going to make some liquid sunshine out of all of this rain. That's the only choice we've got right now," saidMore >>
The countdown is on to this weekend's Vermont City Marathon and final preps are underway. Those finishing touches are coming in the rain, but organizers say the weather isn't slowing things down.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:35 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:35:15 GMT
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex. The parade is held annually on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. But after all the rain and flooding damageMore >>
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:48 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:48:57 GMT
The heavy rains have left a lot of people with flooded basements. We want to remind people of potential dangers before tackling that mess. First, shut off power to all basement appliances. Don't touchMore >>
The heavy rains have left a lot of people with flooded basements. We want to remind people of potential dangers before tackling that mess.More >>