LENNOX PASSAGE: Ongoing work at the only bridge to Isle Madame has been underway for two weeks, but not without changes to the tender.
Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal spokesperson Marla MacInnis told The Reporter on November 23 that the department recently awarded the $4.54 million contract for the Lennox Passage Bridge to Allsteel Coatings Limited.
However, MacInnis noted there were modifications to the original tender.
“The two main changes were to the scope and scale of the mechanical and electrical repairs,” MacInnis said. “The rest of the tender has stayed the same as before.”
With the contractor now finalizing the work plan, MacInnis expects the project to be complete by June, 2019.
“Work will include repairs to the deck, steel work underneath the bridge, structural, concrete and mechanical repairs, electrical work, abutment stabilization and a replacement of the joints,” MacInnis explained.
During Question Period in the Nova Scotia Legislature on September 11, Cape Breton-Richmond MLA Alana Paon told Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Lloyd Hines that “minimal preventive maintenance” forced the department to weld the span shut because of concerns that the bridge might not shut once opened.
Last winter, the speed limit on the bridge was reduced to 20 kilometres an hour as a temporary measure to reduce the impact to the bridge until the joints were repaired. The DTIR explained at the time that they noticed increased vibrations coming from one of the joints on the bridge platform, which was attributed to “typical wear and tear on steel bridges.”
Last May, the Lennox Passage Yacht Club expressed their displeasure that the lift bridge was unable to open for the start of the boating season.
The yacht club received calls from boaters in the United States and New Brunswick curious about the state of the bridge and whether it was going to be ready for boats this year. Aside from that group, local businesses and other groups like the St. Peter’s Marina were also affected by the closure.