Cause­way up­grades in fi­nal stages

Traf­fic freely flow­ing through Canso Cause­way as swing bridge im­prove­ments con­tinue

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF

Ma­jor com­po­nents of planned up­grades to the swing bridge at the Canso Cause­way have been com­pleted.

The work had in­ter­rupted traf­fic from time-to-time while up­grades were made to the bridge and while cause­way and rock work was un­der­taken along the route that con­nects Cape Bre­ton to main­land Nova Sco­tia.

“The big­gest part of the sched­ule was hav­ing the canal op­er­a­tional on May 15 of this year at 7:30 in the morn­ing,” said An­drew MacPher­son, an en­gi­neer with the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion and In­fra­struc­ture Re­newal.

“That was the big­gest hur­dle and we met that sched­ule.”

The swing bridge is 60 years old and re­quired sig­nif­i­cant up­grades to en­sure it con­tin­ues to pro­vide ser­vice to all trans­porta­tion types in­clud­ing ve­hic­u­lar, ma­rine and rail.

The up­grades in­clude struc­tural, me­chan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal re­pairs, and var­i­ous traf­fic im­prove­ments. It also in­cludes the con­struc­tion of a new oper­a­tors’ build­ing ad­ja­cent to the swing bridge to al­low for in­creased ver­ti­cal clear­ance for high-sided ve­hi­cles trav­el­ling to Cape Bre­ton.

MacPher­son said the ma­jor com­po­nents to the bridge up­grades

that have been com­pleted in­clude a new op­er­at­ing sys­tem. There’s still some land­scap­ing, cleanup and elec­tri­cal work to do. Mi­nor work to the

oper­a­tors build­ing must also be com­pleted, he noted.

The ex­pec­ta­tion is that the bridge will be eas­ier to op­er­ate now, he said. Im­prove­ments will

also in­clude a horn that sounds when the canal will open and an im­proved bar­rier sys­tem for traf­fic.

“Once they stop there is now a bar­rier in place that should be able to ab­sorb the full im­pact of a ve­hi­cle if some­body lost con­trol or some­thing like that when the bridge was open­ing.”

Much of the work was per­formed while the canal was closed to ma­rine traf­fic dur­ing its reg­u­lar clo­sure pe­riod, Dec. 25 to April 15.

To help re­duce ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic de­lays, tem­po­rary de­tour bridge and tem­po­rary road ap­proaches were put in place.

The only de­lays ex­pected from now on will be when the bridge must open for ma­rine traf­fic and an oc­ca­sional func­tional test to en­sure the sys­tem works as ex­pected.

“There’s a lot less of that than there was in the two weeks lead­ing up to it open­ing,” said MacPher­son. “We are func­tional to ma­rine traf­fic now. We’ve had six or seven go through and there’s no is­sues with that.”

In July 2014, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment trans­ferred the ad­min­is­tra­tion and con­trol of the Canso Cause­way to the prov­ince. The trans­fer in­cluded fed­eral funding of $9 mil­lion to­ward work on the swing bridge and the cause­way.

The con­tract, worth $8.95 mil­lion, was awarded to All­steel Coat­ings Ltd.

Work be­gan in Jan­uary 2016 and is on sched­ule to con­clude this fall.


The swing bridge at the Canso Cause­way canal is shown open to al­low a boat to pass through. Work on up­grades to the bridge has been on­go­ing.

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