BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: Citing safety concerns, the Township of Scugog closed Seagrave’s River St. bridge on Friday, Sept. 19 - following an inspection which revealed a major safety hazard.
At council’s meting on Monday, Sept. 22, Scugog CAO and Director of Public Works Ian Roger presented photographs to the members of council which showed one of the concrete abutments which support the nearly 10 metre bridge’s deck, eroded to nearly nothing.
“There is very little material left supporting the bridge itself, so we closed the bridge on Friday, and are now looking at options,” said Mr. Roger.
Over the course of the weekend, Township staff noticed that someone had removed the barricades which blocked access to the bridge - and had apparently driven a vehicle across it.
“Our first course of action will be to install fixed barricades in order to block traffic, as any additional weight could cause a collapse,” said Mr. Roger. “We will also set up an information package and public forum to inform local residents.”
Scugog Township was left discussing options for the aging bridge, although any construction near the Nonquon River will require the approval of the Kawartha Region Conservation Authority.
“We can do a temporary repair which will re-open the bridge in the condition it was in prior, which will take about two months,” said Mr. Roger. “The hard part is to get approved by the KRCA, and we have no idea how long the approval process could take.”
Councillors were hesitant to jump on the repair decision, which would cost approximately $15,000, before further information is gained from the environmental assessment (EA), currently being carried out on the Seagrave bridge.
Mr. Roger stated that it seemed highly likely the bridge would be deemed both necessary to Seagrave, and in need of full reconstruction.
“I’m concerned that repairs and designs will cost more than we estimate,” said Mayor Chuck Mercier. “We can’t just spend money on the repair job, and then demolish and re-build the bridge in two months if we find out the results of the EA.”
Meanwhile, Scugog has been seeking infrastructure funding from the Province of Ontario, and has stated that details should be presented in the next couple of months.
However, if funding is not made available by the Province, Council would need to discuss the approximately $2 Million reconstruction process in their 2015 budget - as the current lame duck Council cannot deliberate a sum of more than $50,000.
Information packages are currently being drawn-up, and Seagrave residents will be contacted regarding a coming information forum - at the Township’s earliest convenience.