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