The Alburg-West Swanton Causeway and bridge was built in 1938. In the 1980s the bascule section (a type of drawbridge) had deteriorated to the point where it was no longer useable. Communities in the region clamored for a replacement since the narrow roadbed was dangerous year-round. The Coast Guard threatened to levy fines since they could no longer access the Missisquoi Bay with their buoy tender.

Many people contributed many hours to bringing the new bridge to fruition. But obstacles remained. The greatest sticking point was the question of whether to remove the old causeway once the new bridge opened. That point was still unresolved when the new construction began.

Threatened and endangered species three varieties of mussel and the

Eastern Spiny Softshell turtle lived in the path of the bridge. The community perceives the causeway as an eyesore and significant contributor to the degradation of the bays water quality. State authorities assert that water quality would not be positively impacted throughout the Inland Sea, even though the studies show that the bay itself would improve. In a nutshell, the unresolved issues demonstrate the polarization that can occur when public policy collides with public opinion.

For my part, Id like to see the causeway go. After all, my household water comes from the bay, and any steps that can be taken, no matter how incremental, to improve water quality are steps in the right direction.

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Missisquoi Bay




Page last updated 9/18/2005