VTrans to begin planning for additional ferry service in the wake of the Champlain Bridge closure

first_imgThe sudden and immediate closing of the Champlain Bridge connecting Chimney Point, Vermont, to Crown Point, New York, has prompted Governor Douglas to direct Transportation Secretary David Dill to begin immediate planning and preparation for extended additional ferry service.  Service will begin as soon as possible should the inspections now underway conclude that the bridge will need to remain closed indefinitely while repairs are being made.  The bridge carries about 3,400 vehicles a day, which will now have to travel north or south to cross the lake.“Detours are time consuming and costly.  This is not just about convenience; this is an economic burden as well as a safety issue,” said Governor Douglas.  “For some Vermonters, their economic wellbeing depends on being able to travel between Vermont and New York on a daily basis.  And many New Yorkers rely on hospital services in Vermont.  That is why I want to be sure that we are doing all we can to find a short-term solution for the thousands of Vermont and New York residences whose lives have been disrupted by this emergency situation.”While ensuring the safety of the bridge and preventing a potentially dangerous accident is paramount, having an alternative that is safe, efficient and affordable is also a top priority.  Secretary Dill is reaching out to Lake Champlain Transportation as well as the Ticonderoga Ferry which operates a smaller 18 car cable ferry between Shoreham, Vermont, and Fort Ticonderoga, New York, to coordinate efforts. The ferries charge a fee. The next common land crossing into New York is down in Fair Haven, about 35 miles.“I want to be sure that once the inspections are complete, should the bridge be deemed unsafe to reopen, that Vermont and New York are ready with short and long term plans for the quick implementation of a safe, affordable alternative crossing,” the Governor added.Depending on the extent of the damage, long-term planning which VTrans is hard at work on now could include a temporary bridge or possibly a federal earmark for emergency funds to repair or replace the existing bridge.  “Even though New York is the lead on this, we are going to do everything we can in Vermont to be sure that a solution is found,” Douglas concluded. Source: Governor’s office. 10.20.2009###last_img

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