BENJAMIN PRIEBE With files from Darryl Knight The Standard
SCUGOG: Scugog has embarked on a pair of studies, which will determine the future of two aging bridges over the Nonquon River.
The Environmental Assessments, planned for later this year, will take a look at potential species or ecosystems that would be disturbed by work on the bridges, and define the Township's options for the bridges - the first bridge lies along Scugog Line 8, and the second along River St. in Seagrave.
Each bridge could potentially be repaired, replaced, or completely removed - as, according to Ian Roger, Scugog's Director of Public Works, they are not high traffic areas and have not caused a significant delay.
"The Seagrave bridge was built in 1920 and is still operable for light vehicles, and the Line 8 bridge was built in 1940 and has been closed," said Mr. Roger. "We've seen a long life from both of them, but it may be time to consider our options."
The Line 8 bridge - a 12 foot span which lies just east of Hwy. 12 - has been closed for the past four years, due to deteriation of its deck. The expected truck traffic to and from the new Nonquon Treatment Plant on Line 8 will likely be forced to route through Port Perry's core, if the bridge is not replaced.
The cost to completely re-construct the Line 8 bridge is estimated to be $2 Million, based on a bridge-needs study undertaken by the municipality in 2011.
Construction of the new Nonquon Treatment Plant was delayed by the strike by the Region's inside workers earlier this summer, but Scugog Mayor Chuck Mercier recently told The Standard that contractors are being identified, and he expects that construction of the new plant to begin in September. The project plan indicates an 18 to 22 month duration for construction, with a target date for the new facility to be up-and-running by the fall of 2016.
Meanwhile, the 50 foot single-lane bridge in Seagrave bridge could cost up to $1.2 Million to bring up to modern standards, and is considered a higher priority, because it could potentially be used to divert traffic from Simcoe St. in an emergency.
In spite of the costly estimations, a full reconstruction of the rarely-used bridges may not be on the books.
"These projects have potential to be torn down and replaced with a foot path, they may be repaired and replaced, or they may be removed completely," said Mr. Roger. "We won't know until the studies are complete."
Samples are expected to be taken this week and sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources for testing - with a price tag of approximately $50,000 per site.
"We hope to have the Environmental Assessments wrapped up by October, and we will then plan an open house and forum to educate the public and gather their input," said Mr. Roger. "Once that is done, a full report will be compiled for Council in late 2014."