The Placentia lift bridge will get $1 million in immediate repairs to restore the load capacity of the structure, Transportation Tom Hedderson announced today.
The announcement follows Monday’s decision by the Department of Transportation and Works to put a 13,000-kilogram weight restriction on the Sir Ambrose Shea Bridge.
“We committed to evaluating, monitoring, and repairing the bridge on an ongoing basis, and the repairs we intend to carry out are expected to extend the service life of the bridge while we proceed with a longer-term solution,” stated Hedderson.
According to the Transportation Department, the bridge is currently safe for public use provided the weight restriction is observed.
Design work for the repairs will begin immediately, with subsequent repairs expected to take three to four months to complete.
A bridge replacement project was scrapped last August when the only tender came in at nearly double the province’s $24-million estimate for the project.
Placentia Mayor Bill Hogan said the funding commitment is a step in the right direction, but only if the repairs are started right away.
“We need this bridge done,” he said.
The government may not share the same sense of urgency that Hogan feels.
“Immediate to those fellas don’t necessarily mean right away,” he said.
The weakened bridge needs to be repaired before it deteriorates further, said Hogan, adding the bridge’s condition has worsened in the past 18 months.
“The bridge is weakened,” he said. “We don’t know how much it’s weakened, but it’s weakened and it has to be repaired.”
The current weight restriction does not affect emergency vehicles, said Hogan, since none of the vehicles exceed the weight restriction. It was one of the first thing town staff and council checked after learning of the bridge’s weight restriction on Monday evening.
“Emergency vehicles are not prohibited at all. They all come within the restrictions,” he said, adding a fully loaded fire department pumper truck weighs 13,100 kilograms.
The Placentia town council is expected to discuss the issue at Tuesday night’s council meeting.