ADDISON — New York and Vermont transportation authorities have tentatively set Wednesday, Dec. 23, as the date on which an Idaho-based company will demolish the Champlain Bridge.
Details were still being firmed up as the Addison Independent went to press on Friday.
“Dec. 23 is our planning date and is not ‘official,’” stressed John Zicconi, director planning, outreach & community affairs for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. “It could change, but that is the date and time we are shooting for. When it becomes official, we will post on our own (Web) sites and make an announcement. But we are telling staff — state police, fire, rescue, etc. — to gear up for that time and date.”
Look for an update on the demolition date at www.addisonindependent.com.
Zicconi stressed that the demolition is not being advertised as a community spectacle. Quite the contrary.
“We are discouraging people from attending,” Zicconi said. “It is supposed to be cold, and there will be no facilities. And there is no parking except along local streets. I stress, we are not throwing a party, and we are not inviting people to attend anything. There is no ceremony of any kind. What we have is a construction site. We understand people can stand on the side of the road and view our construction, but we are making no accommodations. People may have to walk a considerable distance to get there, as there is no parking, it is expected to be very cold and there will be no places to warm up or go the bathroom.”
The Champlain Bridge closed Oct. 16 after inspectors noted substantial deterioration to the 80-year-old span’s concrete piers. As reported in the Dec. 17 issue of the Independent, citizens and a public advisory committee have selected a preferred design for a replacement bridge that transportation officials said could be in place by the summer of 2011.
Meanwhile, the Ticonderoga Ferry closed last Thursday and Friday due to ice forming on Lake Champlain, and as the Independent went to print officials said they hoped to restart service over the weekend if lake conditions allow.
The ferry has provided a critical transportation link between Shoreham, Vt., and Ticonderoga, N.Y., since the Lake Champlain Bridge (about 10 miles north) was closed.
Normally it ceases operation for the season at the end of October, but state transportation officials convinced Michael and Alison Matot, who operate the cable ferry service, to remain open as long as weather permitted. Without the service, hundreds of commuters between Addison County, Vt., and Washington and Essex counties in New York, must take an 80-mile detour south of Lake Champlain or take a ferry that operates between Essex, N.Y., and Charlotte, Vt.
The Ticonderoga Ferry had been running seven days a week, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. since late October. Vermont and New York state agencies subsidized the service so it was free to passengers.
For information on the status of the Ticonderoga Ferry visit the Web site www.middlebury.net/tiferry.
A new ferry service that will be able to break the ice on the lake is being planned for just south of the bridge. Work is under way on the docks for that ferry, but transportation officials don’t expect it to be operating until mid-January.
Michael Matot on Friday said he would keep the Ticonderoga Ferry would run “as long as possible.”