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Bridge worth the trip to Wilmington

March 5, 2015
Editorial , Lake Placid News

The bridge replacement in Wilmington is not a reason to stay away. Quite the contrary. It is a reason to visit.

When the state Department of Transportation decided to replace the Lake Champlain bridge at Crown Point, which opened in November 2011, residents and visitors drove to the state historic sites on both sides of the lake, in New York and Vermont, to watch the bridge demolition and reconstruction. It was an event, and those fortunate enough to have seen it were witnesses to history in the making.

While the new bridge over the West Branch of the AuSable River is not nearly as large - and there is no free ferry service across the river like there was across the lake - the bridge work in Wilmington is just as historic, and we encourage people to visit. Pick up a sub at the Little Super Market on the east side of the river or some candy at Adirondack Chocolates on the west side and have a picnic while watching the construction crews. Take photos and videos, and share them with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. This is a rare opportunity to see history in the making.

Getting there is quick and easy. Use the detour on the Fox Farm Road and Springfield Road to see the bridge from both sides of the river. It only takes about 8 minutes to get from the Whiteface Mountain Regional Visitors Bureau on the east side to get to the U.S. Post Office on the west side, a total of 5 miles.

The 80-year-old concrete-and-stone bridge that is being demolished was constructed during the Great Depression. It was the ornamental entranceway at the foot of the Whiteface Mountain Memorial Highway, which opened to the public on July 20, 1935 and was dedicated on Sept. 14, 1935 with a visit by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The bridge was complete in September 1935, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

The 2015 bridge - complete with widened shoulders for bicyclists and decorative lighting - is expected to be complete by June 1. While people only have three months to see this historic achievement, Wilmington will be blessed with a new attraction by the summer: a beautiful bridge for the 21st century.



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