New Champlain Bridge open for business - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

New Champlain Bridge open for business

West Addison, Vermont - November 7, 2011
Hundreds of people from Vermont and New York gathered to witness history. The opening of the new Champlain Bridge connecting Addison, Vermont to Crown Point, New York. And it was a race to see, who could cross first.

These communities have been without a bridge for more than two years, after the old bridge was deemed unsafe and was demolished. A ferry service has been taking cars across, but the financial impact on businesses and families has taken a toll.

"It has been a big impact on the local communities as has been reported and this opening is, everyone is greatly optimistic that things will return and be better than ever as far as business and tourism activity," said Kim Rielly with the Lake Placid Visitors Bureau.

Among those in attendance, the 29ers -- as they are called --  folks who witnessed the ribbon cutting on the old bridge back in 1929. "I thought there would be those much older than myself... the rest of my life," said Bernard DeZalia, a 29er who turns 95 next month.

A group of vintage car enthusiasts, including Dave Sander, brought some models from 1929 to drive across the new bridge. "I thought it was important to have a Pierce Arrow here. It was the car of choice for the White House during the Roosevelt Administration, since FDR was here for the original dedication, it was important to have a '29 Pierce Arrow here for the dedication of the new bridge," Sander said.

And it was the vehicle of choice for Vermont's Governor and New York's Lt. Governor, who congratulated both states on completing this bridge project in two years, rather than eight, as was first expected.

The 76-million dollar bridge is expected to last for the next 75 years. However the emphasis Monday was on a new beginning.

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