By Eric Bourque
Work is underway on what will be a replacement for Yarmouth County’s longest bridge and the project is still on track for completion in the summer of 2014, the province says.
Replacing the century-old Indian Sluice Bridge, which connects Sluice Point and Surette’s Island, is expected to cost $13.5 million.
The project is generating a good deal of truck traffic. On average, about 20 to 25 trucks are being used daily as part of the construction process for the new bridge, the province says.
Maurice Smith, Nova Scotia’s transportation and infrastructure renewal minister, relayed to the Vanguard some details about the bridge project provided by engineers.
Trucks will haul about 20,000 tonnes of rock to the site to use for the bridge approaches, the minister said.
The bridge’s overall appearance “will be very similar to the originally designed structure, but the methods of construction proposed by the contractor will mean the bridge will be longer lasting,” he said.
“Contractors will use steel box girders, pre-cast concrete deck panels, and there will be two six-foot-diameter caissons, or watertight foundation structures, at each pier location to support the bridge.”
The Indian Sluice Bridge is nearly 190 metres long and over 100 years old, having opened in 1909.
The bridge has frequently been in the news over the years. People who live near the bridge and who use it regularly have long been calling for a new structure, expressing concern about the safety of the old bridge.
The province has said the bridge is safe and that it is tested regularly.
In the fall of 2011 the province announced it was moving up the construction timeline for a new bridge, saying it made sense to get started on a new bridge sooner, rather than continue doing maintenance and repairs on an old bridge it was planning to replace anyway.
The existing bridge is a one-lane structure. The new bridge will have two lanes.
Dexter Construction is the contractor for the project.
The transportation minister said he sees “how very important the bridge is to the community.”