Under investment leaves bridges in troubled waters

MORRISBURG – The biennial bridge inspection report was a sobering document for South Dundas council.

Presented by Keystone Bridge Management at the November 8th regular meeting, South Dundas council learned of the deteriorated condition of South Dundas’ 33 structures including 12 bridges and 21 qualifying culverts.

The report showed that South Dundas is lagging behind on the renewal of its bridge structures due to lack of adequate investment in that infrastructure which has spanned decades and is now coming to a point that these structures are coming due.

Only 5.5 per cent of South Dundas’ bridge inventory has been renewed over the past 20 years when ideally the renewal rate should be at least 10 per cent per decade according to Keystone.

The report shows $7.5 million in capital needs for the structures in the next 10 years.

It suggests that long term about $300,000 should be spent on bridges annually and $135,000 on culverts to adequately maintain those assets.

“Well, we know what has to be done,” said South Dundas councillor Lloyd Wells. “With this council it seems that everything is hitting us all at once. We have one year to figure this out. This is serious.”

“This should have been taken care of years ago,” added Wells. “This report really brings things to the surface.”

“We’re going to have to put more focus on bridges and culverts and lobby for more funding,” said Mellan.

“I hope the residents will look at this and see that it can’t keep being pushed down,” said South Dundas deputy mayor Kirsten Gardner.

“This council will have to do some thinking at budget time and maybe pull away from other things,” said South Dundas councillor Donald Lewis. “If not, we’re going to be in a mess of trouble.”

“Some council has to take this on and start the drive to get to where we need to go,” said South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds.

“A dedicated infrastructure levy should be considered to be spent on roads and bridges,” said Byvelds. ”It’s challenging. We can’t ignore the bridges.”

This report will be a key document for council to consider as they enter budget deliberations in late January.

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