The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) today announced finalization of a bi-state agreement between New York and Vermont for the progression of a project to rehabilitate or replace the Lake Champlain Bridge, spanning Lake Champlain between Crown Point, New York and Chimney Point, Vermont. HTNB Corporation of New York City has been selected as design consultant. This project is being jointly progressed by NYSDOT and the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).The bi-state agreement announced Monday demonstrates the partnership between the states and the common understanding of the needs of the structure. The project is in a preliminary planning stage and is expected to require the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement before a proposed solution is selected. Options include rehabilitation or replacement of the existing bridge. Construction is tentatively planned to begin in 2013. The 80-year-old bridge accommodates approximately 3,400 vehicles per day.The existing structure is a combination of a thru-truss, deck-truss and deck plate girders measuring 2,184 feet in length on 14 spans. Each state recognizes the significance of this bridge.HNTB Corporation is a national transportation infrastructure firm renowned for their work on bridge rehabilitations and replacements. The design team will initiate work on the project once approved by the New York State Comptroller.One of the first tasks the consultant will complete is an evaluation of the existing structure to determine the feasibility of rehabilitating the bridge, including cost of the work and potential impacts to motorists. All options will be identified and evaluated and public input will be solicited before progressing a particular alternative.Many perspectives must be considered with the planning of this important project. To help elicit these perspectives, a Public Advisory Committee (PAC) has been organized composed of members of the communities and representatives of community groups. To date, three PAC meetings have been held to initiate dialog between the lead agencies and the PAC. The next PAC meeting will be held shortly after the design consultant begins work on the project.Historic, business, agricultural, residential, environmental, and recreational interests are represented on the PAC. The PAC will be one important method for the lead agencies to obtain stakeholder input early in the planning process when needs are assessed, objectives formulated, and alternatives evaluated for feasibility.Public informational meetings scheduled during the project s design phase will provide an opportunity for community input. The bridge s condition will continue to be monitored during the development of the project to ensure the safety of the traveling public.NYSDOT has established a web site for this project which can be found at www.nysdot.gov/lakechamplainbridge(link is external). The public is encouraged to visit this site for periodic project updates and can contact NYSDOT with comments about the project by emailing [email protected](link sends e-mail). A link to this address is provided on the Web site. Comments can also be sent to NYSDOT, Region One Design, 328 State Street, Schenectady, NY, 12305, Attn: James C. Boni, P.E., or by phone at (518) 388-0200.
H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Case counts, vaccine delivery estimates, edging out seasonal flu Down Under, Sanofi begins vaccine production
Jun 26, 2009World novel flu tally approaches 60,000The global number of novel H1N1 cases climbed to 59,814 cases, including 263 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today. The total reflects a 3,947 increase from the last update on Jun 24. Jurisdictions appearing on the list for the first time are Indonesia, Iran, Serbia, and the UK crown dependency of Guernsey. Countries reporting the highest increases since the last report include Chile, the UK, Mexico, Australia, and Canada.[WHO update 54]US pandemic flu count nears 28,000The nation’s number of novel flu cases rose to 27,717 cases and 127 deaths, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today. The tally represents 6,268 more cases and 40 more deaths than the last update a week ago. States reporting the highest number of cases include Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas, New York, California, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. New York has the most fatalities, 35, followed by California with 16.[Current CDC numbers]US may have 1 million pandemic flu casesA surveillance expert from the CDC said yesterday at the agency’s immunization group meeting in Atlanta that the true number of pandemic H1N1 cases in the United States could be as many as 1 million, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. Lyn Finelli said the projection was based on mathematical modeling and surveys from health officials. She told the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that 6% or more of the population from some urban areas could be infected with the virus.[Jun 26 AP story]Vaccine experts differ over vaccine delivery estimateRobin Robinson, an official from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) who addressed the ACIP group yesterday, projected that as many as 60 million doses of the pandemic H1N1 vaccine could be available by September, the AP reported today. However, others at the meeting said the estimate may be too optimistic.[Jun 26 AP story]Novel flu edging out seasonal strains in Australian stateThe pandemic H1N1 strain is dominating seasonal flu strains in Victoria, according to a report from the Victoria Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) that covered last week. Of 138 influenza A samples tested, 60 were novel H1N1, 3 were H3N2, and 2 were seasonal H1N1. Victoria is the state with the most confirmed novel flu cases, 1,560 of Australia’s 3,519. Experts predicted that the new flu strain might push out seasonal strains as the southern hemisphere’s flu season progresses.[VIDRL weekly flu surveillance report]Part of UK moves away from pandemic flu containmentHealth officials in England said pandemic flu response in two parts of the country will shift from a containment to a management strategy, the London Daily Mail reported today. The change, which affects London and West Midlands, means that schools will no longer close and that antiviral medication will no longer be given to close contacts of flu patients, only those who have illness symptoms. Also, most illnesses will be diagnosed clinically rather than through lab testing.[Jun 26 Daily Mail story]Sanofi begins pandemic vaccine productionSanofi Pasteur, one of the five companies that are developing a novel H1N1 vaccine for the US market, said it began large-scale production on Jun 23, according to the company’s Web site. The company will still need to conduct clinical trials, which it said in an earlier statement could take place as early as August. In late May the company received a $190 million order from the US Department of Health and Human Services to make bulk vaccine and conduct other activities.[Sanofi timeline of novel flu vaccine developments]Two workers were sick at Argentine pig farmAnimal health officials from Argentina said yesterday in a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that two workers at a pig farm where the animals tested positive for novel H1N1 were sick between Jun 7 and 9, but did not seek medical care or undergo testing. The report said pigs started getting sick on Jun 15. The virus sickened 30% of the 5,586 pigs, but none have died. The facility has its own restocking system, and no pigs have entered from outside the farm since July 2008.[Jun 25 OIE report]