Delays Increasing Costs For Lake Champlain Bridge

04/08/11 7:34AM By Melody Bodette

VPR Photo
Construction continues on a new bridge in West Addison, Vermont. New York State Transportation officials say the project has been delayed by obstructions hit when drilling support shafts.
(Host) New York State Transportation officials say a new bridge across Lake Champlain connecting Crown Point, New York and West Addison, Vermont will cost several million dollars more than expected.

The increased cost is due to obstructions workers hit last fall while drilling to place the shafts that support the bridge's concrete piers. And some of those obstructions were pieces of the former bridge that was imploded after being deemed unsafe.

New York Department of Transportation engineer John Grady says demolition contractors did use sonar and radar to find pieces of the 3-million pound steel bridge after it was dropped into murky water, but not all pieces were found.

Grady says the contractor now has a 65-day schedule adjustment to compensate for the delays, and the state will pay extra costs: 

(Grady) "We have spent additional money on overcoming the obstructions. We spent additional money on trying to accelerate some of the items of work, to get back some of the time we lost due to those obstructions...The project will come in several million dollars more than the original bid. "

(Host) But officials didn't release any exact numbers. The bridge was expected to cost 70-million-dollars.

As for the schedule, Grady says the goal is still to have the bridge open on October 9th.

(Grady) "Some of the things we've been doing is increasing some of the overtime on the job, working longer hours, we increased the number of forms, we tried to use multiple sets of forms rather than waiting for them to get done in one place. We've brought in additional barges and cranes, a variety of ways in order to find the best ways to get on track."

(Host) The last concrete pier will be poured next week. And 600 feet of steel has been erected on the Vermont side of the bridge. In the coming weeks, steel work will be shifted to the New York side of the lake.

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