The Parry Bridge on Keil Drive in Chatham will be closed to cars and pedestrians for five days – Jan. 3 to 7 – this week while a non-structural issue discovered during recent construction is addressed.
According to Adam Sullo, Director of Engineering and Transportation for Chatham-Kent, during the recent rehabilitation of the Parry Bridge, it was noted that the latching mechanism that connects the two centre spans was wearing more than anticipated, which was causing more vertical movement noticeable to drivers and pedestrians.
Although there were no structural concerns, and the latch mechanism was mechanically sound for five or 10 more years, staff and the contractors looked at several options Sullo said.
“In order to reduce movement, stabilize the bridge and reduce wear, it was determined that the mechanism should be replaced,” he said. “We didn’t want to wait and have it cost three times as much later when we had the contractor in place.”
The fabrication of the latch mechanism, however, would take six to eight weeks, so at that time, Sullo said they decided to complete the structural work and re-open the bridge based on the timeline committed to the public. Now that the part is ready, and a plan for how to replace the latch has been decided, the bridge will be closed to make that happen.
“The best way to replace the part is to open the bridge, but we aren’t keen on doing that. Historically, once the bridge was open, it was hard to close it and have it align properly. Anyone who has been in town for a while might remember the problems with having the bridge open for hours,” Sullo noted.
The contractor and consultant made 3-D models first and came up with a detailed plan to replace the latch while the bridge is closed.
“There has been a lot of planning involved. This wasn’t anticipated when we started construction;, it was discovered during construction and we didn’t want to have to do this again in a few years at a much higher cost,” Sullo explained.
The closure started at 7 a.m. on Jan. 3 and is expected to end Jan. 7 at 6 p.m.
Sullo said the municipality appreciates the patience of area residents while the rehabilitation project is completed.