ALBANY - State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald announced Friday, July 27 the receipt of the 2012 Transportation Planning Excellence Award for its work to replace the Lake Champlain Bridge, which connects Crown Point, N.Y., and Addison, Vt.
The honor was bestowed jointly to New York and Vermont for the project, which was funded by both states and managed by New York's transportation department.
"The building of the new Lake Champlain Bridge was a historic process, one that illustrates government successfully pulling together in an innovative and efficient way to move an important safety project along quickly and to restore a critical transportation link between states," McDonald said in a press release. "The fact that the Lake Champlain Bridge project was one of only eight awardees to be recognized for outstanding transportation planning shows that this project is unique not only to the communities it serves, but stands out as a national model of excellence."
The Champlain Bridge as seen recently.
The new Lake Champlain Bridge is a steel structure with an arch along the center span. Key bridge components are designed to be easily replaceable to reduce maintenance costs. Travel lanes are 11 feet wide, with 5-foot shoulders that help accommodate larger trucks and farm vehicles, as well as provide ample room for bicyclists. Sidewalks are featured on both sides of the bridge.
Construction began in June 2010 after the old structure was demolished in December 2009. The project that was initially expected to be completed by 2017 but was finished by late 2011.
The bridge provides a vital link between the states, with residents relying on it to get to employment and medical care, farmers relying on it to access crops, and many small businesses relying on it to carry residents and visitors for shopping and dining opportunities. Without the bridge, the detour was approximately 80 miles long and took about two hours.
The Transportation Planning Excellence Awards is a biennial awards program developed by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration, and co-sponsored by the American Planning Association and the Transportation Research Board.