Sunday, December 16, 2007

Champlain Bridge - Replace or Repair?

A picture of the bridge I took some time ago. In the foreground are the ruins of Ft. St. Frederic.

An article in this mornings Plattsburgh Press Republican concerns one of the most beautiful bridges in the North Country - the Champlain Bridge in Crown Point, NY. The bridge was built in 1929 and historic preservation experts want it preserved. So do I. This was the first bridge in the USA to use the continuous-truss style of construction.

Although architects and historic preservation experts want to preserve the bridge, comments by a local politician should be of concern.
Supervisor Ronald Jackson (R-Essex) said the Champlain Bridge is in poor condition now, with expansion rollers seized and holes in the steel.

"We should encourage New York DOT to speed up the process so we can get around to replacing that bridge."

Mr. Jackson pointed out the replacement of the bridge is likely to end up in the courts. It sounds like Mr. Jackson may be in favor of replacing this beautiful bridge with the standard flat bridge that is so common today. Lucky for us, the State of Vermont has some say in what will happen also. Vermonters are into preserving history.
Professor Robert McCullough is a consultant to the Vermont Agency of Transportation's Historic Bridge Program. He teaches historic preservation at the University of Vermont.

"We have a program (in Vermont) to maintain and rehabilitate our bridges," McCullough said. "We want to look at the historic importance of the Champlain Bridge. It's the first of its type in the country."

It would be a sad state of affairs if this bridge were not preserved given its location right next to the ruins of the British and French forts that were so important during the 18th century.

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