CROWN POINT — The 2012 Transportation Planning Excellence Award for outstanding work on the Lake Champlain Bridge has been bestowed jointly to New York and Vermont, which was funded by both states and managed by the New York State Department of Transportation, according to DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald.
“The building of the new Lake Champlain Bridge was a historic process, one that illustrates government successfully pulling together in an innovative and efficient way to move an important safety project along quickly and to restore a critical transportation link between states,” McDonald said. “The fact that the Lake Champlain Bridge project was one of only eight awardees to be recognized for outstanding transportation planning shows that this project is unique not only to the communities it serves, but stands out as a national model of excellence.”
The new Lake Champlain Bridge is a steel structure with an arch along the center span. Key bridge components are designed to be easily replaceable to reduce maintenance costs. Travel lanes are 11 feet wide with five-foot shoulders that help accommodate larger trucks and farm vehicles as well as provide ample room for bicyclists. Sidewalks are featured on both sides of the bridge.
Before construction, extensive public meetings were held to determine what the community wanted from a new bridge, where to best locate it and what type of bridge should be built. Overall, a project that was initially expected to be completed by 2017 was finished in late 2011.
Nominations for the award were reviewed by an independent panel of judges who selected winners based on community and public involvement, innovative approaches to completion, context sensitive solutions to enhance the community and natural environment, collaboration with other public or private entities and long-term benefits of the project.
The $76 million bridge was 80 percent federally funded. The Transportation Planning Excellence Awards is a biennial awards program developed by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration and co-sponsored by the American Planning Association and the Transportation Research Board.