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Niska Road bridge to be closed on Feb. 28

GUELPH - The city of Guelph is closing Niska Road bridge to all traffic - drivers, pedestrians and cyclists beginning Feb. 28.

Guelph is closing the bridge indefinitely due to safety concerns about the bridge’s condition and the unstable effects high spring water flows and heavy rainfall can have on the bridge’s main support structures (abutments).

“We’ve been able to prolong the life of bridge by completing various repairs since a 2013 report indicated the bridge was failing,” noted Kealy Dedman, city engineer.

“At this point however, the condition of the abutments combined with coming spring and summer river flows pose too big a risk for us to keep the bridge open.”

Dedman stated pedestrians and cyclists are at as high a risk as drivers because the nature of the deterioration is structural. The original bridge crossing the Speed River collapsed in 1974. That bridge was replaced by the Bailey bridge, loaned from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, as a temporary solution.

“The current bridge was never intended as a permanent crossing here,” said Dedman.

“Bailey bridges were not built to last, and we’re really seeing the effects of long-term use on this one, especially with the abutments being right in the water course.”

The bridge was closed to replace deck boards in April 2015. Structural issues would require replacement of the abutments.

“Our decision to close the bridge is in the best interest of community safety,” said Dedman. “Once we receive direction from the ministry, we can decide how to best proceed with the deteriorating bridge.”

February 17, 2017


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