Belmont bridge listed in ‘serious’ condition by province

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BELMONT – The Barnhill Bridge on Belmont Road has been cited in provincial documents as being in “serious” condition, although a provincial official says there are no immediate safety concerns.

"Trusses have holes formed due to severe corrosion …,” the province said, in inspection reports conducted in 2012, and reported in data gleaned by the Canadian Press through a Freedom of Information request.

"Lower lateral sway bars are severely corroded and loose,” the report continued, of the Belmont bridge. “Very severe corrosion is present on stringers and section loss of more than 50 per cent has occurred on the ends of several stringers."

Of 3,021 inspection reports done on bridges in 2012, the last year where records are complete, the Canadian Press said, in its original story from the provincial database, 391 of the inspected bridges were listed as having serious damage, including missing concrete.

Some structural repair work was done to the Barnhill Bridge in the past year, however, and it has also been resurfaced.

A search through the information by the Truro Daily News shows that the Soley Brook #2 Bridge on Route 236 is also listed in serious condition, while 47 bridges received a rating of “poor.”

The Canadian Press said an analysis of the data from the reports shows 13 per cent of the bridges inspected in the province were in poor or worse shape. The database is based on preliminary and advanced inspections of the bridges.

Bridges in poor condition were those that had advanced section loss, pieces of concrete falling off and structure that was worn away by water and sediment, CP said, of the database. “Those considered in serious shape – a worse ranking than poor – had various forms of erosion and crumbling that affected primary structural components,” the report said.

According to Bruce Fitzner, chief highway engineer with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, however, motorists should not be concerned about travelling over the province’s bridges.

“The majority of these bridges, or the worse ones are on the low-volume roads and in some cases are on abandoned roads, roads that are not in use much any more,” he said.

“The public can be assured that the engineers are looking at these things closely and that they don’t need to feel unsafe travelling over them.”

Fitzner said last year the province spent $25 million on bridge replacement and repairs, a figure “bumped up” to $35 million this year.

“I don’t have the exact number of bridges that that addresses, but it will get the most significant ones,” he said.

And Fitzner added that if there is “any indication” that a bridge is not safe, it will be posted to only carry lighter vehicles or be shut down entirely.

“So everything that’s out there that people are driving on is safe. And the one’s that are bad we’re keeping a close eye on them. If something changes we would quickly do something to ensure the public is safe.”

Fitzner further added that the problem is not unique to Nova Scotia.

“Most all the provinces are facing the same thing with older infrastructure,” he said.


With files from Canadian Press

Twitter: tdnharry







Organizations: Canadian Press, Truro Daily News, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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