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Millions needed for bridge work

Fresh from a decision to repair the Glasgow Street bridge at a cost of $335,000 Woolwich is now looking for more than $6.8 million to repair or replace bridges and culverts over the next decade.

Acting on a consultant’s report, Woolwich councillors last week charged staff with preparing a capital program for the rehabilitation work.

Required by the province to inspect bridge structures – bridges and culverts – every two years, the township last year had an engineering consultant determine the state of its inventory and then come up with a cost for tackling any deficiencies. Remediation work was ranked as high, medium or low priority.

Of the 48 structures inspected, nine were deemed to be of high priority, nine judged medium and 16 low. Fourteen were seen as requiring no action. Most of those with the highest priority should be repaired or replaced within one to five years, with some falling in a 10-year timeline, noted director of engineering and planning Dan Kennaley at Tuesday’s meeting.

The nine most pressing projects include the Glasgow Street span dealt with last month. The list included a Floradale Road culvert (repairs, $150,000), another Floradale road structure (replacement, $630,000), a culvert on Reid Woods Drive (replacement, $430,000), a steel truss bridge on Middlebrook Road (repairs, $135,000), a similar span on Peel Street (repairs, $128,000) a culvert on Halm Road (replacement, $180,000) and a culvert on Bisch Street (replacement, $490,000).

None of the structures is unsafe at the moment, though load limits will be reduced on some until the repairs are done, Kennaley noted.

Those reduced loads promoted Coun. Mark Bauman to raise the issue of fire safety, but Woolwich chief Rick Pedersen explained none of the crossings are on regular fire routes.

A funding plan and rehabilitation schedule is expected to be part of the 2011 budget process that will get underway next fall.

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