Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada
Help
Follow

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

Enter your email to subscribe. Unsubscribe anytime. We may send you promotional messages.
Please read our privacy policy.

Woolwich moves ahead with pedestrian-only design of Peel Street bridge

[File Photo]

Final design parameters for rehabilitating the Peel Street bridge having been approved this week, Woolwich will look at sending the job out to tender later in the year.

The decision at Monday night’s meeting came as councillors rejected a last-minute request to make allowance for snowmobile traffic on the structure.

Les Bauman of the Bridgeport Snowmobile Club found some sympathy for his pitch to maintain the decades-old use of the bridge as part of local trails, but council was in no mood to re-open what had already been an at-time contentious process.

The bridge will be rebuilt to accommodate only pedestrians and cyclists, not motorized vehicles. The final design will include a centered walkway, wood deck and conventional railing that will retain the shell of the historical structure.

“I can’t see how we can open this up again,” said Coun. Larry Shantz, who along with fellow Ward 3 representative Murray Martin had pushed for the crossing to be open for all vehicles.

Given Winterbourne residents’ calls to maintain the heritage value of the bridge and convert it for pedestrian use, council ultimately went that route, which was also the least expensive of the rehabilitation options. The cost of the repairs has been estimated at $1.1 million.

Built in 1913, it’s one of the few steel truss bridges remaining in the area.

While Bauman’s bid to include provisions for snowmobiles got some support from Mayor Sandy Shantz and Coun. Scott McMillan, the prospect possibly scrapping the design work done to date and reopening the debate eventually scuttled the idea.

Engineering project supervisor Ryan Tucker told councillors accommodating snowmobiles would require the reopening of the environmental assessment process, reworking the design to keep pedestrians separated from the vehicles and incurring more costs.

Safety concerns mean the current narrow, centered laneway wouldn’t work, with liability becoming an issue, said Tucker, stressing that motorized vehicles should be kept from the bridge.

“I think we have to keep it strictly for pedestrians and cyclists,” said Coun. Shantz.

The decision is in keeping with earlier decisions that not only precluded motorized vehicles, but did not allow the bridge to be crossed by horse-drawn buggies. Staff maintained there was no way to accommodate buggies without the risk of motorized vehicles crossing it, noting many people don’t respect posted signs or load limits. Repairing the bridge to reinforce it for heavier vehicles would be cost-prohibitive, and such usage would severely shorten its lifespan, staff found.

The construction work will be put out to tender later in the year to allow for a contractor to begin work over the winter if there are issues with in-river construction during the spring when adjustments might have to be made for aquatic life, said Tucker.

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

Enter your email to subscribe. Unsubscribe anytime. We may send you promotional messages.
Please read our privacy policy.

Total
0
Shares



Related Posts
Total
0
Share