How the Champlain Bridge is shaping up - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

How the Champlain Bridge is shaping up

West Addison, Vermont - October 7, 2011

Nearly two years have passed since the Bridge Restaurant in West Addison became the No Bridge Restaurant.

"It's been a challenge," said Dixie Thorpe, who's been a waitress at the restaurant for 10 years.

Thorpe says even with the free ferry service, things just haven't been the same.

"The business has definitely gone down," she said. "I'm a good judge of it being that I've been here so long."

The construction of the Champlain Bridge has been a constant battle against the elements. The project was delayed due to flooding this Spring and the bridge's 900-ton arch was installed just days before Tropical Storm Irene.

But now the bridge is finally nearing completion. Friday, we toured the progress by boat. Although most of the major construction is now complete, concrete trucks continue to roll onto the bridge one after another, pouring what will be the sidewalk on both sides of the crossing.

Jack Sweeney of Saranac Lake, N.Y., came to watch the installation of the arch back in late August. He says local residents are now more excited than ever for the opening of the bridge.

"It's going to be a great party when they get it done, I'll bet you. Yup, a lot of people will turn out for it," Sweeney said.

When exactly that will happen is still unknown. Before construction was delayed this spring, the bridge was originally slated to open this Sunday, Oct. 9.

"We've had a lot of people coming in and saying 'Do you have a date?' We don't have a date obviously, but we're hoping for the end of the month. We'll see!" Thorpe said.

When we reached out to the New York Transportation Department, officials would not release a new completion date. They have pledged that the bridge will be finished by year's end.

"When it opens, I'll believe it," Thorpe said. "I'm just waiting like everyone else!"

Waiting for the day when they can finally drop the "No" from the No Bridge Restaurant.

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