Saturday, October 20, 2007

Grand Isle Bridge Deemed Unsafe

The draw bridge connecting the town of Grand Isle to the town of North Hero has been deemed unsafe for two-way traffic. It has been made one way by use of traffic lights, and still continues to open for boat traffic. The drawbridge sits on US Route 2 and is the only gateway for sailboats to access the Inland Sea section of Lake Champlain.

This is more than an inconvenience for Grand Isle County, as Route 2 is the only north/south connecting road through the islands. Traffic bottlenecks have already been had, but the concern is the ability of the island communties emergency responders to cross during periods of high volume traffic. This is more than a hindrance for the two communities on one side, and three communities on the other who rely on the ability to provide mutual aid.

Word about town is that it will be four years before the bridge can be replaced. Studies need to be done, etc. The sad part is it was known that this bridge was in decline, long before the incident occurred to the west that caused all bridges to be checked. This bridge is so old the book "History of South Hero Island", shows a picture of it with an out house attached to the back. Deposits were quick and direct to the lake.

This is a serious issue facing an entire Vermont county, and needs to be at the forefront of everyone's minds. Four years is too long. There are several of these traffic choke points throughout US Route 2 as you travel through the Champlain Islands. This is the fastest growing county in the state of Vermont, it needs to be treated better than the bastard child of Chittenden County.

I implore any and all, if you see Governor Jim Douglas, ask about that drawbridge in Grand Isle? If you see Representatives Mitzi Johnson or Ira Trombley, ask what they are doing to get the drawbridge fixed? If you run across Senator Dick Mazza, ask him why his constituents have to travel every day over an unsafe bridge, when he is the Chair of the Senate Transportation committee?

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