Pla­cen­tia bridge almost back to nor­mal

The Compass - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

Since Au­gust of last year, the Pla­cen­tia lift bridge has lacked the abil­ity to lift. How­ever, the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tions and Works ex­pects that will soon change.

“We’re only a cou­ple of weeks away from the old bridge be­ing fully op­er­a­tional,” Trans­porta­tion and Works Min­is­ter David Brazil told The Com­pass in an in­ter­view last Fri­day.

A piece of equip­ment broke while the bridge was be­ing raised in Au­gust 2014. It took four days for the bridge to re-open for ve­hi­cles and pedes­tri­ans. Pe­ri­odic clo­sures have been nec­es­sary since then to ac­com­mo­date on­go­ing re­pairs.

Now, those re­pairs are almost fin­ished. Bar­ring an hour or two for test­ing, Brazil an­tic­i­pates there will be no fur­ther clo­sures in the lead up to the bridge’s lift func­tion­al­ity once again be­ing fully op­er­a­tional.

“We wanted to make sure it was up to spec so that once it’s com­pleted, we don’t run into any other is­sues — other than your ba­sic main­te­nance you have to do any­way. We’ve been do­ing that for the last 50 years on the bridge.”

Gov­ern­ment is now hop­ing the bridge will hold up long enough for con­struc­tion of the re­place­ment lift bridge to con­clude.

Brazil said work on the $40.6 mil­lion lift bridge has just about reached the half­way mark, with the com­ple­tion tar­get of 2016 still in place. Weather this win­ter has gen­er­ally been milder — a favourable sit­u­a­tion for crews work­ing on the new bridge.

“You’ve seen the steel tower on one side is start­ing to go up, and they’ll start the other side very soon,” said the min­is­ter.

The min­is­ter sug­gests it will likely be com­pleted mid-year 2016, as­sum­ing weather and trans­porta­tion fac­tors do not de­lay the project.

“It could be a lit­tle later, it could be a lit­tle ear­lier, but right now our tar­gets are fairly good,” said Brazil. “Bar­ring some ma­jor change, we’re con­fi­dent that in mid-2016, that’ll be fully op­er­a­tional.”

Be­sides serv­ing the in­ter­ests of res­i­dents and the own­ers of fish­ing ves­sels who make use of the bridge’s lift func­tion to leave Pla­cen­tia Bay, Brazil sug­gests it will prove ben­e­fi­cial to new in­dus­try op­por­tu­ni­ties for the com­mu­nity.

“It’s a win-win for every­body.”

Sub­mit­ted pho­tos cour­tesy the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works

The ex­ist­ing Pla­cen­tia lift bridge is vis­i­ble in the back­ground as crews work to build the struc­ture set to re­place it in 2016.

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