Press-Republican

May 24, 2013

Champlain Bridge lights getting fixed

BY LOHR McKINSTRY
Press-Republican

---- — CROWN POINT — The new Champlain Bridge across Lake Champlain will soon shine with its former intensity.

Many of the bridge’s 66 LED floodlights and 276 LED pedestrian walkway lights were out over the winter, but repairs recently started on the broken lighting along the span.

“The repairs are under way and should be fully operational by the end of June,” State Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Bryan Viggiani said this week.

DOT contracted with Stilsing Electric of Rensselaer to do the work. 

The problem was traced to moisture seeping into access boxes on the bridge, short-circuiting sections of lights.

“Our (contract) electrician found water was getting into the electrical pull boxes along the bridge, which allowed the wiring to get wet and get damaged,” Viggiani said.

Stilsing is repairing the wiring and sealing the boxes against the weather. 

The company is installing new electrical cable to replace the damaged lines.

“They’re making sure water can’t get in those electrical pull boxes and affect the lighting,” Viggiani said.

WHO WILL PAY?

A pull box is an electrical-system junction box placed in long conduit runs to make the pulling in of the wires easier. The boxes have removable covers fastened by screws.

The repairs are expected to cost about $500,000. 

“A determination has not yet been made on who will pay for the repairs,” Viggiani said.

Either the electrical subcontractor on the bridge project or the state will foot the bill, he said. 

The Department of Transportation said the bridge lighting cost $1.2 million of the span’s $76 million final expense.

FEWER NIGHT LIGHTS

“There have been complaints in regards to light pollution from the bridge,” Crown Point Town Supervisor Charles Harrington said.

Moriah Town Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava said that, because of the complaints from people living nearby, DOT will shut off the bridge’s arch lights at 11 each night.

“The pedestrian lights and the navigation lights will still be on, but the overhead lights won’t. The arch lights were brighter than they needed to be. 

“They’d have gotten fewer complaints with lower-intensity lights.”

DOT will begin shutting off the arch lights overnight once all the lights are repaired, Viggiani confirmed, leaving the sidewalk and navigational lights on.

“Arch lights will remain on during holidays and for any local special events,” he added. “The purpose is to save on electrical costs and reduce light pollution.”

In October 2009, the old bridge was closed because deep cracks in the pillars made the bridge unsafe.

It was blown up with controlled explosives in December 2009, and the new bridge connecting Crown Point to Addison, Vt. opened in late 2011.

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com