The day after Thanksgiving my husband and I decided to drive down to Chimney Point and walk across the new Champlain Bridge which opened a few weeks ago, replacing the 1929 bridge that was condemned as unsafe a little over 2 years ago. The new bridge arches over this narrow point in Lake Champlain connecting Crown and Chimney Points as gracefully as the old bridge, but with its sidewalks, bike lanes, and crosswalks at either end, it opens a whole new world of views and opportunities to the pedestrian and cyclist. We were not able to park safely on the Vermont side as there was still construction going on to remove the infrastructure built to accommodate the temporary ferry that ran while the new bridge was being built. So we drove across the bridge and parked in a state parking lot on the New York side. Much to our surprise and delight, the small parking lot was nearly full. Many others were taking advantage of this late November holiday to walk across the bridge now that there are sidewalks and bike lines on both sides of the bridge and well marked crosswalks on both ends. We headed to Vermont along the south side, up and over the arch, crossed to the north side at the well marked crosswalk at the east end and then headed back to New York, stopping frequently to take pictures. We passed parents and children of all ages, grandparents with grandchildren, and groups of adults, young and old. In fact, there were more people walking across the bridge than cars driving across.
The view from both sides is spectacular of course, even with the wind howling and screeching through the structure. I could not help but think of the many times in the past I have crossed that bridge longing to stop at the top and take a picture, but with no place to pull over, or opportunity to walk or bike safely across. What an improvement! Build it and they will come!
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