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Eel Lake bridge to be ready by end of October, province says

In a picture from Sept. 12, the site of the Eel Lake bridge in Yarmouth County is shown, after the 50-year-old bridge had been removed. An overhaul of the bridge is slated to be finished by the end of October, the province says.
In a picture from Sept. 12, the site of the Eel Lake bridge in Yarmouth County is shown, after the 50-year-old bridge had been removed. An overhaul of the bridge is slated to be finished by the end of October, the province says.

YARMOUTH -- Work to overhaul the Eel Lake bridge in Yarmouth County is expected to be finished by the end of October, says a spokesman for the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR).

Meanwhile, the road closure resulting from the project is having an impact on area residents and businesses, says Eel Brook and District fire chief Malcolm Madden, who, among things, says fire response times could be affected.

The road closure is affecting people in a number of ways, he said.

“It’s impacting the locals ... just to go to church,” he said, citing an example. “The school buses have to change their routes.”

Residents understand the work needs to be done, Madden said, but what was particularly frustrating was that there was a period – after the bridge had been removed – when there was no work being done at the site. The TIR crew reportedly had found the project would require more work than anticipated and had requested an extension of the permit from the environment department to do the work.

“If you’re going to do something like that, take something apart, you should be ready to go through with the project,” Madden said. “Why take it (the bridge) apart if you’re not ready to fix it?”

Giving an update on the Eel Lake bridge project on Sept. 28, Brian Taylor, a transportation department spokesman in Halifax, said, “They have repaired the damage to the timber pile, so that’s been repaired, and they’re going to move on to repairing the concrete abutments ... so that should be underway.”

Nicole Albright, the municipal councillor for that area, acknowledged that local residents would have preferred to see work being done after the 50-year-old bridge was taken out.

“I think people are a little bit frustrated about that,” she said. “I’m just happy we’re getting a new bridge ... That bridge was in really hard shape.”

She had seen some things people had written about the bridge on Facebook, she said, but no one had talked to her about it directly.

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