Cost to reopen bridges close to half a million dollars

SOUTH DUNDAS – South Dundas council might be willing to spend upwards of half a million dollars on three rural road bridges that have been closed for about a year.

The long-awaited bridge report regarding the closed bridges on Devries Road, South Branch Road and Nine Mile Road was presented to council at the December 19 meeting by representatives of HP Engineering who completed the analysis.

After reviewing the results of the highly detailed report that outlined three alternative options for each bridge, South Dundas council told staff what its preferred option is for each of the three bridges.

The Devries Road will be permanently closed and the bridge removed. Proper removal of that bridge will cost at least $40,000, according to the report.

For the other two roads, South Branch Road and Nine Mile Road, South Dundas council is most interested in pursuing the lowest cost option to rehabilitate/renew the bridges. The lowest cost option is estimated at $250,000 to $300,000 per bridge.

For both bridges, rehabilitation/renewal will involve deck replacements, steel and concrete repairs. It is estimated that this type of rehabilitation will give the bridges about 10-15 years before another major rehab is required.

Even with the repairs, the bridges will remain load restricted, but the load restriction will be sufficient to allow the bridges to be used by emergency vehicles, school buses and municipal vehicles.

The other more extensive repair options that are not being pursued by the municipality are much more costly with estimates of $600,000 and $1 million respectively.

Of the South Branch Road bridge, South Dundas councillor Marc St. Pierre said, “We want to get it fixed, some how, some way.” Regarding the Nine Mile Road bridge, St. Pierre asked if the municipality is getting political pressure to fix that bridge? “Is this one that we could look at closing,” he asked.

“It has no houses,” said mayor Evonne Delegarde. “There’s a lot of traffic back that road,” said councillor Bill Ewing.

“It’s a convenience,” said Delegarde.

The traffic count on that road is 0-49 per day, which is the lowest traffic count on the books, and it is not winter maintained.

South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan said that there is a lot of farm and local traffic on that road, but did add that the bridge is not wide enough to accommodate the size of today’s farm equipment.

“We are already closing Devries Road. I am not willing to swallow the pill on closing any other roads,” said Mellan.

While council agreed to direct staff to move towards the $250,000 rehabilitation options, they had the resolution they passed reworded to make clear that the options will be discussed during budget deliberations and that final approvals will follow.