A recent engineering report shows the North Bridge has only a few years of service life left.
The report came from Lex3 Engineering who took core samples from the bridge in October and November, explained CAO Brad Watson. The bridge was first built in 1908 with major renovations in 1932 and 1972. The cost to repair the bridge is more than the actual replacement, minus the roadway development work needed, he explained.
A total repair of the north bridge is estimated at $1.345 million while replacing it would cost $1.3 million. If council decided to repair the bridge, the town would not be on the hook for bridge realignment and roadwork, which Watson believes could add another $3.7 million to the project.
“Rehab options are comparable in cost of replacement,” he added.
However this may not be an ideal option as the report from Lex3 Engineering states the “sub-structure elements have deteriorated” and maintenance is no longer an ideal option. Watson is using estimates from a recent grant application sent to the federal government, which set the cost at $7 million. Since then companies have been building similar sized bridges in the region for approximately $5 million, explained Watson.
To deal with the safety concerns the town has posted vehicle weight restrictions of no more than three tons on the North Bridge. The engineering firm has also recommended the town ramp up enforcement and suggests high load bars and public notices to keep the public informed. The report also states that continued use from over-limit loads are likely to reduce the service life of the bridge, explained Watson.
He hopes to receive some assistance for this project. “We’re looking to make an application for the next shovel-ready grant program.”
Lex3 also recommends visually inspecting the bridge every six months to ensure it is still safe to use.