Thursday, November 12, 2009

WVTK Local News November 12, 2009

Replacing the Lake Champlain Bridge will cost more than $67 million and take at least 22 months, according to a safety assessment report released Wednesday by the New York Department of Transportation. The assessment by HNTB New York Engineering and Architecture P.C., concludes that replacing the bridge is safer, cheaper and quicker than rehabilitating the 80-year-old span. Transportation officials abruptly closed the bridge connecting Addison and Crown Point, N.Y., on Oct. 16 after determining deterioration of piers had made the structure unsafe. The bridge is considered a crucial conduit of commerce between the two states; as many as 3,500 cars and trucks use it daily. The safety assessment report lays out repair alternatives and risks. A short-term repair option extending the bridge’s life span four to five years is projected to take nine months and cost $22.9 million. The report calls it “no more than a stop-gap.”

A longer-term rehabilitation could restore the bridge to service for 50 years, the report says, while also retaining the historic nature of the existing structure. But the cost of long-term rehab soars to more than $84 million, and the repair time would extend to 30 months. “Given the long detour lengths, the importance of the bridge to the regional economy and the need for a safe, reliable crossing at this location for many years to come, both temporary and permanent rehabilitation strategies are inadequate,” the report states. Replacement is the best option, it concludes. “In order to avoid an unacceptable level of risk, we suggest that the existing bridge be demolished in a controlled manner, and replaced with a new bridge at the same alignment,” the report says. Depending on the design, replacement is estimated to cost between $67.2 million and $76.7 million and take 22 to 24 months. A new bridge could serve for 75 to 100 years, the report says. The report recommends demolition of the bridge to begin as soon as possible “to eliminate the risk of sudden, potentially catastrophic, failure.”

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Bondholders who are owed more than $550 million by FairPoint Communications, have withdrawn a motion asking to have an examiner investigate factors leading to FairPoint's Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month. FairPoint bought Verizon's landline and Internet assets in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont last year before filing for bankruptcy.

SANFORD, Maine (AP) - A 2-year-old Maine girl has been reunited with her mother after her father allegedly abducted her, triggering the state's first Amber Alert and a 30-hour manhunt that spanned three states. Hailey Traynham and her mother were reunited this week in Sanford, Maine after a deer hunter spotted the girl and her father in New Hampshire.

RANDOLPH, Vt. (AP) - The families of Vermonters killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are planning a memorial that will be built at the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Randolph. The memorial will be to both service men and women killed in the nation's current wars as well as those who have served in the conflicts.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Brandon McGowan held 2 of the NFL's top tight ends in check for the New England Patriots. On Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts, he'll face another. Controlling Dallas Clark, the AFC's leading receiver, seems to be a major challenge for a player who made the league as a rookie free agent in 2005 out of Maine.