"When the bridge was closed and demolished in 2009, it was estimated to take eight years to rebuild," N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement today. "I am pleased to announce that thanks to the hard work and dedication of our federal, state, and local partners, the bridge is opening far earlier than planned."go from four miles each way, to 150. Ferry service helped, but was no substitute for certain types of trips.
The old bridge was demolished in December 2009 (see our past reporting on that here). The $76 million construction of the new span started in June of 2010.
"It's a critical link for west-central Vermont and New York State, and vital to Vermont's economic strength, as well as for the people who rely upon that bridge for work and recreation. The structure that is opening today recreates the iconic previous Champlain Bridge, and I'm enormously proud of the design and the execution of this state-of-the-art engineering accomplishment," said Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin who attended a ribbon cutting today along with NY Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy.
One reason the construction was faster than predicted was the location of construction, on land. The central arch was built in nearby Port Henry, N.Y. Then the eight-story, 402-foot long, 1.8 million pound structure was floated down the lake and lifted into place. Watch a time lapse video of the August arch lifting below.
NY Gov. Cuomo's office says the lanes and shoulders are wider than average to accomodate farm vehicles and bicycles. There are pedestrian sidewalks on both sides of the bridge.