January 28, 2010
Vermont Governor Jim Douglas and New York State Governor David A. Paterson today announced that the new, temporary Lake Champlain ferry will be operational by the end of the month. The ferry will operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week, crossing just south of the former site of Lake Champlain Bridge. There will be no cost to ride the ferry, helping to restore commuter, tourist and commercial traffic in the former Lake Champlain Bridge corridor.
“Residents in the area surrounding the Lake Champlain Bridge share family, friends and business relationships on both sides of the lake,” Governor Douglas said. “Establishing this new, free ferry service will allow these relationships and commerce to resume more normally.”
This ferry crossing is expected to take approximately 15 minutes, drastically reducing commuting time and reestablishing commerce on both the New York and Vermont sides of the lake. Reestablishing the Bridge Road corridor will allow easier access to employment and medical appointments for New Yorkers who need to travel to Vermont and reestablish the vital connections between communities and residents on either side of Lake Champlain. It also signals a return to more normal traffic patterns that will revive a more active and robust economic environment for businesses in communities surrounding the bridge.
“Restoration of this critical link between New York and Vermont will allow residents to return to more normal routines and bring customers back to the businesses located along Bridge Road and in the surrounding communities,” Governor Paterson said. “The next step is to focus on building a new bridge – one that uniquely compliments the historic and scenic setting, and incorporates the needs of the community with structural features that will keep motorists and pedestrians safe for many years to come.”
Design of the new temporary ferry began at the end of October, shortly after the Lake Champlain Bridge was closed. Construction started in November, and the first of two ferry slips will be operational by the end of January. The second slip will open within a few weeks thereafter. The ferry boats will accommodate approximately 40 to 50 cars, as well as pedestrians and other vehicles.
There will be a temporary weight restriction on use of the ferry of 15 tons per vehicle from both the Vermont and the New York sides for the first several weeks after the opening, which will not impact cars, smaller trucks, school buses, or most emergency response vehicles. Once both ferry docks are fully operational, it is expected that this restriction will be lifted.
While the opening of the temporary ferry is a sign of the quick progress that is being made, work continues on the design of a new Lake Champlain Bridge. The Modified Network Tied Arch Bridge concept, favored by the public and the Public Advisory Committee, is the final choice as a replacement. Construction on the $75 million structure is expected to begin this spring and should be completed by the end of summer in 2011.
Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary David Dill said: “As much as we are pleased that this new ferry will allow life for many families and businesses to finally begin to return to something that should closely resemble normal, this good news will not make any of us lose sight of the true objective, which is to construct a new Champlain Bridge and have it open to traffic as quickly as possible.”
New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee said: “All the workers involved in this project have labored long hours in extreme winter weather conditions in order to build the docks, ramps and other infrastructure necessary to support the new ferry service. The temporary ferry will serve a vital role in connecting Vermont and New York as we continue to work aggressively to build a unique new bridge across Lake Champlain.”
Source: Agency of Transportation
Last Updated at: January 28, 2010 12:15:07