Bridge Opens: Nightmare Over

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and NY Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy cut the ribbon on Monday. Photo courtesy of Mark Kurtz, from North Country Public radio.

The $70 million dollar sparkling new bridge over Lake Champlain  -- designed by a Schroon Laker -- was unveiled to much fanfare yesterday, ending a two year long nightmare for many whose livelihoods depended on access to the bridge.

"The people who live here close to the bridge really took the brunt of what happened when this link was gone," Assembly woman Therea Teresa Sayward of the 113th District told the crowd.

"They lost businesses, they called me in the middle of the night crying, because they had just travelled in cold weather for hours and hours just to get to their jobs. This whole community was devastated without this bridge.”

Despite harsh winters the bridge was completed in record time. It was abruptly closed on October 16, 2009 when an inspection revealed two of the bridge's support piers were not structurally sound.

 NYSDOT Regional Structural Engineer Thomas Hoffman said that “under certain conditions we were afraid the bridge could fail abruptly” Prior to the closing, the bridge had already been reduced to one lane while crews made repairs to the steel structure.”

The new bridge was designed by Ted Zoli, who was born in Schroon Lake in 1965. You can listen a report by North Country Public Radio here