Chatham-Kent officials hope to have a temporary fix in place for the Third Street Bridge before the snow flies, and say plans remain in place to overhaul that bridge in 2020.
The 57-year-old bridge was closed Aug. 8 when an inspection raised safety concerns. Chris Thibert, Chatham-Kent’s director of engineering and transportation, said the report showed deterioration in portions of the bridge’s sub-structure.
“The majority of the damaging corrosion is from salt. It’s an open-grated structure and that does allow the runoff to directly impact the supporting beams,” he said. “There were sections where corrosion had caused weakening, and our first course of action was to determine to what level the structure was compromised.”
Thibert said the municipality is expediting the tender process for a temporary fix. The request for proposals will go out this week, and close next week.
“We’re moving as quickly as possible to expedite the process,” he said.
Prior to the discovery of the structural issues, Thibert said the plan was to have a consultant do a detailed redesign of the bridge next year, and have the work done in 2020. The latter timeline shouldn’t change, as the temporary repair will be done to allow the bridge to reopen, albeit under a load limit.
“It will be no heavy trucks, but all four lanes will be open. There will be a load posting, prohibiting anything above three axles,” he said.
Thibert said the corrosion may not have reached the point where the load restriction is absolutely necessary.
“Whether or not it was an absolute dire risk, we don’t want to take that risk,” he said.
The load limit will remain in place until the bridge repairs are completed in 2020.
The final design for the 2020 rebuild won’t contain open grates, Thibert added.
It is still open to pedestrian traffic. But may not be when the repairs take place.