By Michael Bennett
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Ridgetown Independent
Tenders are expected to go out shortly seeking a contractor to fix a major depression in the roadway on the north side of the new Thamesville Bridge.
The new bridge on Victoria Road over the Thames River opened in 2019, replacing the original bridge that was built in 1937.
The new span was barely two years old when a depression developed in the southbound approach on the north side.
The sudden dip mostly affects motorcyclists, recreational vehicles, and pick-ups pulling trailers.
The Municipality of Chatham-Kent has fielded a large number of complaints and has been monitoring the situation since 2021.
A “bump” sign was installed to warn motorists of the dip.
“A lot of people are asking, ‘Why don’t you just pave it?’ But there is a lot more to it than that,” said Brendan Falkner, Chatham-Kent’s manager of infrastructure and engineering services.
Falkner said the depression results from soil shifting under the roadway since the bridge opened.
Municipal staff have been working with the bridge engineer to monitor the situation.
“They recommended that we have to let it settle and then make the repairs,” Falkner said of the engineer’s assessment.
Testing has shown that the shifting under the roadway has stopped since winter, finally allowing repairs to occur.
Once the RFP is posted, Falkner expects council will approve the recommended contractor in early September, and repairs will be completed in the fall.
The municipality, however, is on the hook for the repairs’ total costs since the soil that was excavated caused the depression and not the bridge construction.