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Regional Report: Lights To Be Fixed On Lake Champlain Bridge

AP/Eric A. Besette

The new Lake Champlain Bridge connecting West Addison, Vermont with Crown Point, New York was re-opened in 2011.

The former bridge on the site was imploded in 2009, after the foundation was determined to be unsafe. For months after the demolition, people had to use a temporary ferry during the construction project.

In the months after the bridge re-opened, some of the lights on the $76 million bridge stopped working.

Reporter Lohr McKinstry has been following that story for the Plattsburgh Press Republican

“Over the winter numerous complaints were phoned into the New York state Department of Transportation that various segment of lights on the bridge were out,” McKinstry explained.

The lights are in various clusters so a short circuit can’t take the whole bridge offline.

“It was a safety concern, people driving across the bridge drove from areas of darkness to areas of light,” he said. The system of lights underneath the bridge for boat traffic do still work.

The investigation found that the pull boxes that the wiring was pulled through were not properly insulated against the weather.

“Specifications called for them to be waterproofed, weatherproofed, and they were not. So ice and snow actually got in to these access boxes and caused short-circuits,” he explained.

The repairs are $500,000. The lighting for the bridge was a $1.2 million part of the construction contract.

“The wires were not cold-insulated so they became brittle in the winter. And what’s happening now is the contractor that built the bridge, the subcontractor that did the electrical, the Department of Transportation and the bridge designer are all saying that one or the other is responsible.”

It’s still unclear who will pay the bill.

Meanwhile, there’s a dispute over whether the bridge lights are too bright, and neighbors have registered complaints with the New York State DOT. So they’ll be turning the arch lights off most nights.

Melody is the Contributing Editor for But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids and the co-author of two But Why books with Jane Lindholm.
A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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