HALIFAX: The provincial government has plans for two bridges on Isle Madame.
On July 30, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (DTIR) spokesperson Marla MacInnis confirmed that a tender for work to the Lennox Passage Bridge is expected to be issued “very shortly.”
“The cost of repairs to the bridge is dependent on the bids we receive,” MacInnis explained. “Once the tender has been awarded, we anticipate work will begin in late summer/early autumn.”
MacInnis is confident that once complete, this work will ensure the bridge can lift for passing boaters.
“Work will include repairs to the deck, steel work underneath the bridge, structural, concrete and mechanical repairs, electrical work, and a replacement of the joints,” she noted.
On January 10, the DTIR confirmed that 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.”
In May, the Lennox Passage Yacht Club expressed their frustrations that the bridge was not ready for the start of the boating season. The group received calls last December 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 yacht club, local businesses and other groups like the St. Peter’s Marina were also affected by the closure since boats are unable to pass through the only link to Isle Madame.
Meanwhile, MacInnis confirmed that engineers have evaluated the condition of the Port Royal Bridge to see what work is required to replace that span.
In November, a regular inspection identified deterioration of the bridge foundations, according to the DTIR.
On December 18, the DTIR issued a traffic advisory that the bridge, which is on Port Royal Road, was closed after it was reduced to a five-tonne weight restriction back in 2010.
Because the weight restriction was not always adhered to, and combined with other environmental factors, the condition of the bridge deteriorated, according to the DTIR. Because of this condition, the DTIR engaged an engineering consultant to conduct a full inspection of the structure and this consultant’s report confirmed the DTIR’s decision to close the bridge late last year.
Motorists have been using a detour on MacEachern Road since the bridge was closed.