The Vermont Agency of Transportation says the now-closed bridge between Crown Point, N.Y. and Chimney Point, Vt. could be dropped into Lake Champlain with explosives next week.
The 80-year-old bridge's demolition has been tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. on Dec. 23, agency spokesman John Ziccone said Friday morning, although he stressed it is a tentative date and could change. Ziccone said police, fire and rescue personnel needed a date to plan for.
At a public meeting in Ticonderoga last weekend, planners said the demolition would take place after Christmas but before mid-January. Ziccone said the plan had always been to demolish the bridge as soon as possible, and the preparation did not take as long as expected.
The Crown Point Bridge in January 2009
(Enterprise file photo — George Earl)
Planners also said they wanted the bridge demolished before the ferry between Ticonderoga and Shoreham, Vt. had to close due to the freezing weather. Ice forced the ferry to stop running Thursday. Ziccone said it was still closed this morning, but "the intention is to open it later today, if possible."
The bridge was closed Oct. 16 after engineers warned it was unsafe.
Once the bridge has been destroyed, crews will spend the winter pulling the pieces out of the lake. Officials hope to begin construction on a new bridge in the spring and have it open to traffic by summer 2011.
At last week's meeting in Ticonderoga, planners said viewing areas would be set up on the New York side and talked as if they expected a festive atmosphere. Ziccone said Vermont has no such plans and is discouraging people from attending.
"There are no facilities," Ziccone said. "People are likely going to have to walk a very long distance in the cold to see this. We have a construction site; we're not throwing a party. People have to come at their own risk."