Repairs to Bridgewater’s Old Bridge requires temporary closure of span

by Keith Corcoran

Expect traffic congestion around Bridgewater during early to mid-November as crews complete repairs to a downtown bridge that will remain closed for 12 days while two projects are finished.

The province's Department of Transportation, which owns the two-lane span known as the Old Bridge that provides a link between King Street and LaHave Street, is fixing a steel truss member under northern section of the bridge. Marla MacInnis, a department spokeswoman, said the budget for the repair is $15,000.

Workers for the town intend to repair and replace all the wooden sidewalk planks on the southern, downstream side of the span at during the same time frame. "The timing of both repairs was dependent on when workers were available to complete it," MacInnis told LighthouseNOW in an email.

The town and province signed a bridge maintenance contract in 1999.

Patrick Hirtle, a spokesman for the town, said some planks sustained damage because of a vehicle crash earlier this year and a fire last year. "Others are just being replaced as part of maintenance," Hirtle told LighthouseNOW in an email, adding accent lighting on the bridge will also be replaced.

"This repair work was deferred to coincide with [the province's] work, meaning there will only be one closure of the bridge and not two separate closures," Hirtle said.

The estimated all-inclusive cost for the town's work, which includes the cost of work caused by the accident, is $17,000.

"The portion of the costs associated with the accident will be billed out to those involved," Hirtle added. "Any costs associated with the fire or regular maintenance would be the responsibility of the town."

The temporary closure of the Old Bridge lasts between November 5 and 16. Local traffic will be permitted from LaHave Street to the entrances of TD Bank/Cleve's Source for Sports and the Bridgewater Mall.

A notice the town posted to social media indicated officials "will make every attempt to keep the bridge open to pedestrians, however there will be times that pedestrians will not be able to use the bridge during work."

Ongoing maintenance and repairs to the aging span that crosses the LaHave River is nothing new.

Corroded and damaged steel grating was replaced in 2015 at a cost of about $75,000.

A $10,000 repair that included changing out a west side expansion joint was necessary in 2012.

An eight-day-long emergency repair was required in February 2011, which cost $20,000.

All of that work required temporary closures of the bridge.

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