About 800 people braved frigid temperatures Saturday for a chance to walk across the nearly completed I-91 bridge in Brattleboro.
The town rented buses and worked with VTrans and the construction company, PCL Civil Constructors, to give the public access to the nearly completed 1,036-foot span over the West River.
Brattleboro Town Manager Peter Elwell said it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to walk across the interstate highway bridge.
"It's just wonderful to see so many people coming out to enjoy this chance to walk across a bridge that's been really fun to watch as it's being constructed," Elwell said as he waited on line to board a bus for the tour. "We're going to get a view that we'll only see in a quick glance as we drive across it from now on."
A stiff wind drove the temperature into the single digits, and people stood in line waiting for buses for almost a half hour for the chance to walk across the new bridge.
"It was worth it. I wasn't cold because I had my winter gear on," said five-year-old Eko Harmon-Fee. "We got to discover this cool thing called a finger joint, and we even saw where my mama works."
The bridge stands 515 feet above the West River and forms an open gateway anchored by curving, cathedral piers.
Work on the bridge started in 2013, and the southbound lane is expected to open within the next few weeks, with the northbound side set to open later this year.