Only viable choice for old Champlain Bridge: demolition

The head of the Champlain Bridge project says it will be impossible to "recycle" the old span once the new one goes into service in 2018.  

Engineer Francois Demers tells La Presse that the structure, inaugurated in 1962, is simply too far gone.  He says just inspecting it each year would cost up to $7-million with standard maintenance and any needed repairs on top of that.  He also points out that it would be impossible to repair the bed piecemeal because of the way it is supported by imbedded cables. 

There have been several suggestions centering on turning the old span into a tourist attraction.  One proposal getting some traction online is to create a linear park and walkway similar to the High Line in New York.  

Demers says the only practical choice is demolition, even if it does cost an estimated $400-million.