DTIR expects bridge to be open for boaters next year

After starting late last year, crews have been continuously working on the Lennox Passage Bridge.

HALIFAX: The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (DTIR) says the Lennox Passage Bridge will be open for boaters next year.

DTIR spokesperson Marla MacInnis told The Reporter on September 12 that work on the only span to Isle Madame remains on schedule for an October completion date.

“The project is expected to be complete this fall and is not planned to continue into the new year,” MacInnis said. “There will be an impact to the budget as additional work was added to the scope of the project, however, final costs will not be tallied until the project is complete.”

In August, the DTIR confirmed that the timeline for work on the bridge was extended and will cost more than originally anticipated. The province said the scope of the work increased because of “mechanical and structural issues.” The department expected the work to conclude at the end of June but unforeseen issues arose.

The DTIR explained that once crews started work on the 40-plus-year-old link, they realized that some parts needed to be disassembled, taken away to be worked on, then reassembled on site. The department said bearings on the concrete grinders had to be replaced.

This additional work added another 10 per cent to the final cost of the project.

In the winter of 2018, 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.”

On November 23 the department awarded the then $4.64 million contract for the span to Allsteel Coatings Limited but there were changes to the “scope and scale of the mechanical and electrical repairs” to the bridge.

This work, which started late in 2018, originally included repairs to the deck, steel work underneath the bridge, structural, concrete and mechanical repairs, electrical work, abutment stabilization and a replacement of the joints.