Local News

October 16, 2009

Vital bridge at Crown Point closed

[-BULLET-] Structural integrity of concrete piers at issue; span closed indefinitely

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CROWN POINT — After an inspection showed it could collapse, the massive Champlain Bridge connecting New York and Vermont was closed indefinitely Friday afternoon.

Two of the bridge's concrete piers had significant erosion below the water line, State Department of Transportation Regional Structural Engineer Thomas Hoffman said.

"There was a fairly significant loss (of concrete)," Hoffman said at a press conference early Friday evening at the bridge.

"Under certain conditions we were afraid the bridge could fail abruptly."

The bridge was already restricted to one-lane traffic while structural steel repairs were being made.

Signs and barricades went up at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the entrances to the bridge in Crown Point and Chimney Point, Vt., and on the end of Bridge Road at Route 9N/22. Message boards were also placed on the Adirondack Northway.

Hoffman said DOT is working on solutions as fast as possible.

"We're going to be working as quickly as we can to reopen that bridge. We'd like to have it back open for winter before ice sets in."

He said since there's already a contractor there working on bridge repairs, it might be possible to just expand the scope of work to include repairs to the piers.

Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) was at the bridge, and said she's asked Gov. David Paterson to declare a state of emergency for the bridge. Such a declaration would enable more rapid repairs to be made, and might provide financial aid for those people who now need to take daily ferry trips to get to work.

Essex County Board of Supervisors Chair Cathy Moses (R-Schroon) declared a county state of emergency for the bridge Friday evening.

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