Sojourn staff took a little bike tour of their own today and were the first cyclists to cross the new Lake Champlain Bridge. It’s difficult to put into words the feeling of riding several abreast across the huge new span but it’s not something any of us will soon forget.
Following the pageantry and ribbon-cutting, the new bridge opened to pedestrians and cyclists who led a contingent of antique cars and dignitaries across the bridge. Pausing at the crest of the span amidst hundreds of people on foot and on bikes – views stretching for miles down the Lake, shadows falling on the eastern slopes of the Adirondacks – was completely surreal.
It’s been almost two years to the day that the former bridge was closed to traffic – that bridge having been ceremoniously blasted to create room for the new one in December of 2009. Since then, transportation between Vermont’s Chimney Point and New York’s Crown Point has been possible only by ferry.
The two historic sites were reconnected today under sunny skies and amidst considerable fanfare. There was even a distinguished contingent of folks who were present for the opening of the original bridge built in 1929 and officially opened by then New York State Governor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The high arch – more than 90 feet above the water – required to allow steamboats to pass under the original bridge was included for aesthetic purposes in the new design.
In addition to Sojourn staffers, people from both states marked the opening atop their bikes. Heralded as a victory for cyclists, pedestrians, and tourism – bike lanes were approved and implemented as part of the bridge design.
Sojourn’s Vermont bike tours will now enjoy the beautiful ride across the new Lake Champlain Bridge to visit Crown Point Historic Site in New York. The bridge design, construction, and the speed with which it was built are a tribute to all involved, and showcase the true spirit of cooperation. Well done to everyone!