Options aired for aging bridge in Dundas
Improvements sought on 90-year-old King Street West span over Spencer Creek
It’s a troubled bridge over troubled waters.
And observers hope that by replacing the first they can also make some strides at improving the second.
The King Street West bridge over Spencer Creek in Dundas is 90 years old and needs to be replaced.
“The bridge needs to be fixed. There is no question about that. The bridge as it is does not meet current standards,” says Dundas Coun. Arlene VanderBeek.
The project is going through an environmental assessment process that included a public information evening Wednesday in Dundas.
Project managers presented four options for dealing with the bridge that ranged from doing nothing (not really a choice when looked at closely), to fixing or replacing the bridge in the same place, to building a new bridge beside the old one.
The designers like the last option in a project that is expected to cost close to $3 million. It would allow the old bridge to be used for traffic while the new one gets constructed. And starting anew in a slightly different location would allow greater flexibility in building a more environmentally friendly bridge.
Environmentalist Tys Theysmeyer — who attended the session last night — said, “Spencer Creek is the main river of this whole area and it has been long constrained by the small old bridges.
Underneath the bridge, he said, is “basically a concrete chute.” He expects a newly constructed bridge — built by current standards — would be more mindful of fish habitat as well as flooding implications.
Theysmeyer, who is also head of natural lands at the Royal Botanical Gardens, says “it’s basically been a fight with the river under the bridge. A lot of concrete has been put in there and it’s really a concrete chute.
“As well as being useless as fish habitat, it has the worse effect of supercooling the water in the winter when it gets cold and generating ice jams and floods.”
Wayne Terryberry, of the Hamilton Burlington Trails Council, says the bridge is also a “pinch point” for cyclists and walkers — who are poorly accommodated on the narrow bridge — and hopes the final design will make it wider.
“I’m really hoping to see an improvement in trail connectivity between Dundas up to Greensville. Basically, if you live in Greensville and you don’t have a car, you can’t get to Dundas.”
Theysmeyer, who is also on the trails council, says the reconstruction project has the capacity to “to turn the bridge into a much friendlier place to visit whether you are a person or a fish.”
But VanderBeek says there are other considerations. “I would like them to move the bridge as little as possible. We already have an issue with people going too fast on that hill and I am concerned that if they straighten it out too much, people are going to fly down that hill.”
She hopes the reconstruction can be done with a minimum impact on the nearby Fisher’s Mill Park.
The bridge needs to be fixed. There is no question about that. The bridge as it is does not meet current standards. COUN. ARLENE VANDERBEEK