Governors break ground for new Champlain Bridge, ferry to keep running

first_imgVermont Governor Jim Douglas and New York State Governor David A. Paterson today broke ground on a new Lake Champlain Bridge spanning the lake between Crown Point, New York, and Addison, Vermont. The governors were joined at the site of the approach to the former bridge by state and local elected officials, local business leaders and community members to officially kick-off the start of construction of the new bridge. Those who live and work in the area surrounding the Lake Champlain Bridge share family, friends and business relationships on both sides of the lake, Governor Douglas said. The ease and timeliness of transportation across Lake Champlain is critical to their way of life and economy. Everyone involved in this bridge project should be commended for getting us to this point so quickly.    Breaking ground on the new Lake Champlain Bridge is an important step in reconnecting our two states and restoring this critical link for commerce, tourism, employment, education and medical services, Governor Paterson said. I am proud to have worked closely with Governor Douglas to expedite this project, and commend the elected officials, community members and respective transportation officials for their efforts to work together toward a solution. The new bridge will be built at the same location as the previous structure in order to minimize historic and environmental impacts on the surrounding area. Construction will begin immediately and is expected to be completed in September 2011.The Modified Network Tied Arch Bridge will be a steel structure with an arch along the center span. Steel used will be treated for enhanced corrosion resistance. Multiple redundancies in the design make this bridge a safe structure that will have at least a 75-year service life. Bridge components are designed to be easily replaceable to reduce maintenance costs. Travel lanes will be 11 feet wide, with five-foot shoulders that will help accommodate larger trucks and farm vehicles, as well as provide ample room for bicyclists. Sidewalks will be built on both sides of the bridge.Flatiron Constructors, Inc. of Boulder, Colorado was awarded the contract to build the new bridge. While Flatiron will bring a core team of approximately a dozen managers, there will be many jobs for local workers with the appropriate qualifications.New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee said: Today signifies progress in reestablishing a permanent transportation link between New York and Vermont across Lake Champlain. During the last eight months, we have listened to the public and worked hard to deliver the design for a beautiful new bridge that pays full respect to both the historic and park setting of the surroundings while working at a record pace. We intend to keep up this pace during the construction of the new bridge.Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary David Dill said: Design of the new bridge started almost immediately once it was determined that the old bridge could not be saved. The effort represents a massive undertaking by Vermont, New York, the federal government and the bridge s architect HNTB to design, engineer and permit the new bridge in only a few short months.The new bridge design was selected following significant outreach through public meetings and an online survey, which found strong community support for replacing the bridge with the Modified Network Tied Arch Bridge. This option was also supported by the bridge s Public Advisory Committee. Public preference was one of many factors considered as New York and Vermont chose the replacement bridge design and played a significant role in the final determination.The former Lake Champlain Bridge was closed last October after significant cracking was found in the structure s support piers and was demolished in December. (see demolition click HERE) New York and Vermont worked quickly to subsidize existing ferry service, and to establish free express bus service between New York and three major employers in Vermont, and shuttle bus service between several New York park-and-ride locations and the ferries.Additionally, a 24-hour, free, temporary ferry was opened in February, drastically cutting commuting time between New York and Vermont and effectively reestablishing commerce and emergency service along the corridor. Located immediately south of the former bridge, the temporary ferry, operated by the Lake Champlain Transportation Company, will continue to run until the new bridge is opened to traffic.In business since 1947, Flatiron has extensive experience building major interstate bridges all across the United States and in western Canada. The company rebuilt the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, following its tragic collapse in 2007. Flatiron has received numerous awards in recent years from some of the largest and most respected trade industries in the United States, including the Associated General Contractors of America, the American Council of Engineering Companies and the American Society of Civil Engineers.Source: Douglas’ office. 6.11.2010###last_img read more

The Afterword: In times of crisis, mass media tends to dangerously oversimplify

first_imgWe know how corrosive censorship can be, but we are also witnessing the shortcomings of a free press: Unregulated mass media outlets such as CNN profit off of our panic and play into our paranoia, with each click-bait title being more distressing than the last. It has been, and continues to be, a challenge to sift through all the bullshit and parcel out what is a real cause for concern from what is just fear-mongering. The world is at a complete standstill. I’ve been practicing social distancing in my hometown of Montreal for a week now and have spent a lot of time wondering what this week’s column would hold. The internet is exploding with coronavirus takes⁠ — a few hot, some lukewarm and most stone-cold. My opinions on the chaos surrounding the global health crisis have evolved, taking on new forms as I surf through Twitter, Instagram and a handful of news outlets, but throughout, one quote from Nobel Prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr has continued to ring true: “The opposite of a fact is a falsehood. But the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.” I know that’s not the most helpful thing to hear; people are scared and they want answers — preferably binary ones. Unfortunately, this is more a time to be patient and reflect than one for resolution. In that same vein, I want to talk about how this pandemic has put a spotlight on how incongruent, for better or for worse, our globalized world can be. More importantly, I want to point out the role mass media and the internet have in skewing this pluralism.  On the other hand, the finger-pointing has prompted xenophobic rhetoric on a mass scale: Chinese-owned businesses have arbitrarily suffered, and President Donald Trump has called the coronavirus “the Chinese virus.” Reactions like these put writer Susan Sontag’s saying, “nothing is more punitive than to give a disease a meaning — that meaning being an invariably moralistic one” in a new light.  Yet the coronavirus outbreak is also a testament to the power of our interdependence. Many of us who are young and know the world to be divided and disparate are witnessing, for the first time ever, the whole planet experience the same thing. We are all coping in synchrony; we are all participating in lauding or criticizing each other’s strategies. Telecommunication allows us to learn from, react to and build upon ideas and each other at unprecedented speeds — at both an individual and state level.  All this is to say that there are dissonances to take note of amid the coronavirus pandemic, ones that are not and should not be easily digestible.  The way the internet handles issues transforms our experiences with them, not just because of the size of the problem but also because of the scale of our reactions. In general, online culture encourages us to address serious matters like these with a lack of nuance and context; 280-character tweets, quippy Instagram captions and five-minute soundbites rarely succeed in capturing all angles of a given problem. The result, among others, is often extreme takes at the cost of critical thinking. Extremities tend to be well-suited to gross oversimplification and are an enemy to complex, multifaceted issues. (Tiffany Kao | Daily Trojan) On one hand, the coronavirus outbreak is decisively a lesson on the dangers of a censored press. Chinese doctor Li Wenliang attempted to warn medics about the SARS-like virus in early December (well before authorities confirmed the outbreak of a novel coronavirus) and was detained by police a few days later for “spreading false rumours.” He was even forced to sign a document saying he had “seriously disrupted social order.” Just a week later, Wenliang developed a fever and ultimately passed away in early February from the virus.  The Chinese Communist Party has come under serious fire, and rightly so, for silencing a truth-seeking whistleblower and deliberately covering up what has quickly become a global pandemic.  So, I implore all my readers to put their critical thinking hats on and to remember that mass media and online platforms are more conducive to binary answers than they are to the multiple, often multifaceted, realities that define our world. I encourage you to become well-acquainted with Bohr’s idea that the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth. It may help you better reconcile with the ongoing madness. For the record, I’m not trying to draw moral equivalencies between a democracy and an authoritarian regime; rather, I’m acknowledging that a free press and a censored press beget unique problems, which vary in degree.  Yes, many established systems are falling apart in tragic ways — people are losing money and jobs by the thousands, and private healthcare is failing us — but at least the whole world is watching. This involuntary pause has forced us to take a step back and collectively recognize that we were moving too fast, that we need to work toward a more robust, sustainable way of living — one that doesn’t completely crumble at the front end of a pandemic. Our globalized world is fragile yet powerful, severed yet irrevocably bound. The oxymorons don’t end there. We are watching globalization spread and contract, expand its scope and fold in on itself, all at once. Cornerstones of modern consumerism, organized sports and live entertainment have gone silent. Air travel, once tacit and commonplace, has become a hazardous, virus-spreading machine. International supply chains that we took to be infallible have broken down faster than you can say “country-wide lockdown.” Simply put, the fragility of our defining interconnectedness is showing. For the most part, this issue won’t have easy, cut-and-dry answers ⁠— but that doesn’t mean that there are no answers at all. Rachel McKenzie is a junior  writing about pop culture. Her column, “The Afterword,” runs every other Tuesday.last_img read more

Trojan falls in qualifying round of Winter Olympics

first_imgUSC’s only winter Olympian in the Sochi games missed her chance to earn a medal on Saturday. Jung-Hwa Seo, a moguls freestyle skier from South Korea who according to her Facebook page is set to graduate from USC in 2014, finished No. 14 in the qualifying run for the women’s mogul event on Saturday.24-year-old Seo almost missed the qualifying round after a bad fall during a practice run on Friday. The Korea Times reported that Seo fell while practicing at Sochi’s Rosa Khutor Extreme Park and suffered “concussion-like symptoms.”After putting Seo through several medical tests at a local hospital, doctors cleared her to compete just hours before Saturday’s event.“She suffered a light bruise to her cervical vertebrae,” an official from the Korea Ski Federation told the Korea Times. “However, the injury isn’t severe and she will be able to compete on Saturday.”Seo’s efforts were not enough to get her a medal, as only the top 10 skiers advanced to the next round. Seo finished outside of the top 10, at 14th in the qualifier and 24th overall with a score of 14.16.Seo also competed in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, where she similarly failed to make it past the qualifying round.In Seo’s event, Canadian skier Justine Dufour-Lapointe took home the gold, with sister Chloe winning silver and American Hannah Kearney securing the bronze.Following her event, Seo posted a message on Facebook.“The result is not [what] I was hoping for [over the] last few years but I am satisfied … that I tried and pushed myself … until the end … Thank you [to] everyone who helped me,” Seo wrote on her profile.Though the university has more Olympians, medalists and gold medalists than any other university in the world, the vast majority of USC Olympians compete in the summer games. Seo is one of only four winter Olympians to have attended USC.Overall, 420 USC alumni have competed in the Olympics since 1904. USC alumni have won 135 gold medals, 88 silver medals and 64 bronze medals, but no USC alum has ever won a medal in the winter games. USC athletes have appeared in the Winter Olympic Games nine different times.If USC were a country, it would rank No. 12 for its number of gold medals. Trojan Olympians have represented 60 countries and competed in 28 different sports.USC set a new school record in the 2012 London Olympics with 25 total medals, including 12 gold medals.last_img read more