Repairs now underway to the roadway leading to the Glasgow Street bridge should see the route reopened by mid- to late-October.
Workers arrived Monday to deal with the eroded riverbank and roadway on the south side of the bridge. The repairs are expected to cost Woolwich Township $165,000.
The route has been closed to traffic since Aug. 25 when heavy rains caused a collapse in a section of the pavement leading to the bridge. The erosion problem was first identified in the spring.
The initial work to deal with the erosion is expected to take five to seven working days, Jared Puppe, the township’s acting manager of engineering, said Monday. That will be followed by paving and work on the guardrails.
“Depending on schedule and weather, we could be three or four weeks away from opening up the roadway but we are focused on completing the work as quickly as possible.”
Preliminary design includes the placement of large stones, the re-establishment of the embankment, roadway and vegetative plantings to provide slope stabilization.Original estimates put the cost of the work at $30,000 to $75,000, but costs rose as the extent of the problem became obvious. At their meeting last week, township councillors approved the expenditure, with the work awarded to the lone contractor able to do the work in the allotted timeframe. Puppe noted it’s a busy time of year for contractors looking to finish up projects ahead of wintry weather.
Given that the bridge’s future is up in the air, councillors indicated concerns about spending $165,000 on repairs. Woolwich is currently looking at options for the 130-year-old steel structure, including shutting it down completely, restricting it to just horse-drawn buggies and pedestrians, or replacing it with a new bridge.
The existing single-lane bridge is already subject to height and weight restrictions.
“We’re not spending $165,000 …. for a bridge we don’t want to keep?” posited Coun. Patrick Merlihan, concerned about “throw-away money.”
Puppe noted this was an emergency situation that needed to be addressed, with any changes of the bridge’s status still to be decided.
With Sawmill Road in Conestogo slated for reconstruction, Coun. Murray Martin pointed out the route will be in demand.
“We need that road open.”