The Champlain BridgeDecember 31st, 2009 at 10:00
This past weekend I was lucky enough to be spending my Christmas holiday with my wife’s family in the North Country in New York. For those of you that don’t know, the North Country is that region of New York and Vermont from about the Lake George area to the Canadian border. I’m not originally from the North Country, so that might be a bit off, but certainly just saying Upstate New York would not have been sufficient. I say I’m lucky because I had the opportunity to be present for a rare event, and had my camera along to document it.
The event I speak of was that the Champlain Bridge (also known as the Crown Point Bridge) was finally going to be demolished after a spiral fracture had been found in one of its concrete support piers. That fracture led to the bridge’s closing on October 16, 2009. The closing of the Champlain Bridge had vast implications in the region; the nearest bridge into Vermont is 50 miles south of Crown Point in Whitehall, and the nearest bridge north of Crown Point is over 100 miles away at Rouses Point. In between, Lake Champlain is serviced by several ferries, but only one of them operates 24 hours a day, and none of them are open to industrial traffic.
With the bridge condemned, a vital link for many individuals and companies on either side of the lake was severed. People living on opposite sides from where they worked faced an extra 2-4 hours of travel to and from work, and trailers would be forced to detour many miles to get to the same location.
The Champlain Bridge, which was dedicated and opened on August 26, 1929, was demolished with explosives 80 years later on December 26, 2009.
The morning of the demolition was cold, snowy, and visibility was very poor. None but those with permission to access the Crown Point location, and perhaps some from Vermont were actually able to see the bridge implode. For most of the public waiting to see the bridge’s final moments, all that was seen was fog punctuated by the series of bursts indicating that the charges had gone off.
The afternoon before and morning of the demolition, I set out and took several pictures at the scene, but, lacking a media pass, did not get a photograph of the actual implosion. Meanwhile, you can see the somber and eerie photographs of the Champlain Bridge in its waining days on my Flickr account in my Champlain Bridge Demolition set.
The replacement bridge is expected to be in place and opened in the summer of 20111.
All pictures in the aforementioned set (with the exception of the “Protection” meta-photo) were taken with the following lens, which I highly recommend: