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Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Woolwich goes for quick fix

Temporary repairs should allow the Glasgow Street bridge to reopen by mid-November. Woolwich will spend $36,000 to address the safety concerns that closed the Conestogo span Sept. 1.

A portion of the old wooden deck, last replaced in 1997, will see new 2×6 boards, with the tar-and-chip surface restored over top of the affected area. The contractor will also re-tension some of the supports and repair pins on the 123-year-old metal structure.

The Glasgow Street bridge in Conestogo will likely reopen in mid-November, as township council approved a $36,000 plan to fix most-pressing safety issues.
The Glasgow Street bridge in Conestogo will likely reopen in mid-November, as township council approved a $36,000 plan to fix most-pressing safety issues.

A long-term fix for other deficiencies will be discussed as part of the township’s 2010 budget deliberations, council decided this week. An engineering report on the bridge provided other options for rehabilitating the bridge, with prices ranging from $170,000 to $775,000.

Pointing out the limitations of the existing single-lane bridge, Coun. Murray Martin suggested the township look at replacing it completely rather than throwing more money into repairs.

“I think [in] the long term, we need to replace that bridge. Never mind heritage or anything else, we need to have something that’s practical, where we get our money’s worth.

“In 2005, we had 2,000-2,500 cars per day; I would think we could probably double that now. That road takes a lot of traffic,” he said. “If we replace the deck … you’ve still got an old bridge. It’s only going to carry one car at a time, and when you’re talking 4,000 to 4,500 cars, that’s not practical.”

While the structure has been deemed historically significant, it has no official designation under the Ontario Heritage Act, noted Dan Kennaley, director of engineering and planning.

In other communities, he noted, significant old bridges have been left in place to serve as pedestrian links, with new structures built beside them to carry cars.

A new bridge would be the most expensive option, eclipsing the options discussed at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Simply replacing the bridge’s wood deck with the same technology would cost $170,000, with a life of 10 to 12 years. A steel grate deck, with a service life of 50 years, would run $265,000 to $400,000 depending on the technology used. At the higher end, a new technology employing a fiberglass composite material could run as high as $775,000, but there the deck is touted to have a 100-year life expectancy.

Having opted for the quick fix, the township will now work with engineering consultants Gamsby and Mannerow Ltd., the company hired last month to inspect all of Woolwich’s bridge structures, to come up with a more-detailed report about the Glasgow Street span’s future.

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