RAY BROOK - The state Department of Environmental Conservation is warning people to stay off the ice of Lake Champlain during Monday's scheduled demolition of the Crown Point Bridge.
DEC officials, in a news release, said ice has only recently formed on the lake and is not thick or uniform.
"Due to the danger of going through the ice, people are directed to stay off the ice on Lake Champlain in the area between Westport and Crown Point on the day of the demolition of the Champlain Bridge," the release states. "People going onto the ice will be in serious danger of breaking through the ice. Cold water temperatures and thick wet clothing will significantly increase the likelihood of drowning."
If numerous people go onto the ice, DEC said it will increase the risk of some or all of them breaking through. The shockwave created by the force of the bridge falling into the lake could also cause thick sections of ice miles away from the bridge to break up, DEC said.
DEC Environmental Conservation Officers and Forest Rangers, the U.S. Coast Guard, and local and state law enforcement agencies from New York and Vermont will be focusing on keeping people away from the bridge, and it may take time for rescue personnel to reach anyone that goes through the ice, DEC said.
The bridge demolition is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. Monday. It was originally scheduled to happen on Wednesday, but had to be pushed back because of ice on the lake, bitter cold temperatures and high winds.
People will be able to watch the demolition of the bridge from the pier near the village of Port Henry Campground or the beach at the town of Moriah Bulwagga Bay Campground. DEC said the public should remain on the pier or land for their own safety.
The Crown Point Historic Site and the Crown Point Campground will be closed and are off limits to the public on the day of the demolition. DEC said its ECOs, Forest Rangers and Park Police will be patrolling these areas to ensure that no one enters the grounds of the two state facilities.
The demolition of the bridge, which was shut down in October after it was deemed unsafe, will be webcast live at www.nysdot.gov/lakechamplainbridge.