Acrow Bascule Bridge Maintains Flow of Vehicular and Vessel Traffic During Reconstruction of the North Hero-Grand Isle Drawbridge in Vermont

$60M project involves replacement of historic twin leaf bascule bridge on Lake Champlain

(Parsippany, New Jersey) –  01 July 2019 – Acrow Bridge, a leading international bridge engineering and supply company, has announced one of its modular steel bascule bridges is being used to allow uninterrupted vehicular and vessel passage during the replacement of the drawbridge linking the Lake Champlain island towns of North Hero and Grand Isle, Vermont. Owing to an increasing number of costly emergency repairs over the last several decades and difficulty sourcing parts for repairs, a full replacement structure was deemed the best option for the future of the crossing.

Built in 1953, the bridge is located on U.S. Route 2, the only connecting passage through the islands and a critical link south to the Vermont mainland. It carries 3,000 cars and trucks daily during the off-season and double that number during the summer and fall months. Without a span in place during construction, a detour of more than 60 miles would result. In addition, the drawbridge allows for sailboats and large motor vessels to pass through the channel between Grand Isle and North Hero and is required by the U.S. Coast Guard to be opened on a regular schedule and during emergencies between May 15 and October 15 each year. As each missed opening would incur large fines, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) deemed a provisional lift bridge critical to the success of the multi-year project.  

Contractors broke ground on the project in July 2018 and continued their work on Acrow’s bascule bridge throughout the winter ensuring a fully functional structure for the first required opening of the season on May 15, 2019. When the new structure opened, the old bridge was raised for the last time and will be dismantled in the open position so vessel traffic will not be impacted.

The Acrow bridge is 30’ wide to accommodate two lanes of traffic. The movable bascule span is 60’ long and the back span is 70’ long for an overall length of 130’. The back span also includes a pedestrian walkway to allow access to the control cabin. Acrow’s structure is currently scheduled to be in service until May 2021, when traffic will begin to use the new drawbridge. The project completion date is estimated to be 2022.

The project owner is VTrans, with Cianbro Corporation acting as CMGC (Construction Manager-General Contractor) partner. Acrow designed the bascule span, the back span and the mechanical systems of the rental structure, with temporary approach spans design and project engineering by Cianbro. HDR engineering was engaged as a consultant to VTrans. 

“After a number of years of preliminary planning by VTrans, the design process was addressed in a deliberate and collaborative manner so that the bridge opening deadline was successfully met in order to commence the new navigation season,” said Randy Needham, New England Regional Manager at Acrow. “It has been a pleasure to be a part of this important project, and know that our solution is believed to have cut down on the overall project timeline by a year.”

Bill Killeen, Acrow CEO added, “Acrow has solid expertise in creating engineering solutions for even the most challenging situations. Known to provide value to contractors and government agencies alike, Acrow structures are a great choice when it’s critical that projects stay on, or ahead of schedule and within budget.”

About Acrow Bridge
Acrow Bridge has been serving the transportation and construction industries for more than 60 years with a full line of modular steel bridging solutions for vehicle, rail, military and pedestrian use. Acrow’s extensive international presence includes its leadership in the development and implementation of bridge infrastructure projects in over 80 countries, covering Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, please visit