Cars crisscrossing the new Champlain Bridge Tuesday were a sight to celebrate for businesses that have depended on the traffic between Vermont and New York for years.
"We're one community and we depend on each other and that was proved in the two years we did not have that link, and like I said the ferry was good but it was not good enough," said Lorraine Franklin of the West Addison General Store.
When the old Champlain Bridge was shut down and replaced with a ferry service between the Green Mountain and Empire states two years ago, some businesses did not survive the dip in traffic that came with it. Three-thousand cars crossed the bridge each day; about 2,400 used the ferry.
"There were various reason people told us that they didn't take the ferry and we have not seen customers until today because they did not take the ferry at all and had always said they would not be back until the bridge is back," Franklin said.
At the West Addison General Store, the switch from commuting by road to water slashed revenues by 25 percent. Many customers just stopped making the trip. Others, like Linda Hemingway and her husband from Pottersville, N.Y., found themselves doing it less often.
"For us it was an inconvenience of getting from where we lived in New York to New Hampshire. We had to wait for the ferry, go across, get off, debark, that way," Linda Hemingway said.
Companies that do business on both sides of the bridge are also celebrating. Owners say the new structure is helping them reach customers in ways the ferry could not.
"When the bridge closed, we changed direction. We knew that we couldn't target those folks due to the added expense of being over there, and time wise and things like that," said Mike Shannon of Rainbow Acres Landscaping.
Now, Vermont landscaper Mike Shannon has his eye on bringing his business to New York. And back at the general store, where layoffs were made to make up for the drop in business, the hope is that the new bridge will help restore old business.
"We do expect things to be back to normal, we don't expect it to be overnight, we don't expect it to be way above what we were, we just expect to get our level back and we would be happy with that," Franklin said.
Businesses on both sides of the bridge are working together to mark the bridge's opening. A weekend-long celebration is being planned for May.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 10:03 AM EDT2013-06-19 14:03:21 GMT
A former Customs Agent will sell more more than 150 guns that were seized from his Brattleboro home during a 2011 raid. Special Agent Richard Bernholz pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to filingMore >>
A former Customs Agent will sell more more than 150 guns that were seized from his Brattleboro home during a 2011 raid.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 10:17 AM EDT2013-06-19 14:17:29 GMT
A Vermont film festival is taking classic '80s movies and turning them on their heads. The No Film Film Festival is a competition for filmmakers to take movies and mash them up into new genres. Each teamMore >>
A Vermont film festival is taking classic '80s movies and turning them on their heads.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 9:47 AM EDT2013-06-19 13:47:18 GMT
Bennington Rural Fire Station was packed with people and support for the 15 members recently suspended over their part in an annual stunt. "Do you realize these are the real heroes of America?" askedMore >>
Bennington Rural Fire Station was packed with people and support for the 15 members recently suspended over their part in an annual stunt.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 9:50 AM EDT2013-06-19 13:50:08 GMT
An award winning journalist from Vermont has died.Michael Hastings was killed early Tuesday morning in a car accident in Los Angeles.Hastings was best known for his Rolling Stones article on General StanleyMore >>
Michael Hastings was killed early Tuesday morning in a car accident in Los Angeles.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-06-19 13:51:49 GMT
Glen Goodall served in the South Pacific during World War II, now the Williamstown vet is in Washington D.C. for two very special honors.Tuesday marked the 94-year-old's first trip to the nation's capitalMore >>
Glen Goodall served in the South Pacific during World War II, now the Williamstown vet is in Washington for two very special honors.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:41 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:41:56 GMT
Former Bennington Rural Fire Department chief Joseph Hayes pleaded not guilty Monday to embezzlement charges stemming from a department-sponsored raffle when he was chief. Participants told police theyMore >>
A former chief at the Bennington Rural Fire Department faces embezzlement charges and 16 volunteers are in hot water over another incident. As allegations of misconduct stack up, some residents are worried about their safety.More >>