Thursday, July 25, 2024

Council Approves Award of Tender For Replacement of Century Old Bridge

Meaford council has voted to approve the award of tender for the replacement of a bridge on Sideroad 24, near Concession Road A/Tom Thomson Lane, that crosses Bothwell’s Creek, at a cost of $1,291,732.78. The tender was awarded to McPherson Andrews Contracting Limited, who submitted the lowest of three bids received for the project.

The work consists of the temporary control of the watercourse during the replacement works as required, removal of the existing structure above the high water level, installation of a deep helical pile foundation system, construction of a cast in-place substructure, design, fabrication and installation of a pre-modular superstructure, installation of roadside safety systems, and site restoration,” staff advised council in a report presented on June 24.

The more than 100 year-old bridge, which provides access to two properties, was built in 1920. In 2017, a load limit of 8 tonnes was applied due to the poor condition of the bridge.

The Ontario Structure Inspection Manual (OSIM) inspections of the structure have recommended replacement of the structure, and the most recent inspection was completed in 2022 and recommended replacement as soon as possible,” the report to council advised.

Councillor Tony Bell noted that council and staff explored all options before deciding upon replacing the structure, known officially as Structure BR-002.

Yes, this is a big number, $1.3 million,” Bell told council. “It’s one of those situations where in order to have folks get access to their property, this bridge is $1.3 million, and we’ve seen bridge costs be like that before. I personally wish that there were more people that lived down that area, but, when you own property on the other side, it is our responsibility I believe to have people stay connected. There are a number of options that staff looked into, and I think there was even conversation about expropriation of property.”

The staff report to council noted that options considered included purchasing the two properties that are served by the structure in order to eliminate the need for access, selling the structure to the local property owners, which would eliminate municipal responsibility, and development of a year-round road allowance on Sideroad 24 and 28th Avenue East, however replacement of the structure was deemed most cost effective.

Given the age of the bridge, a Cultural Heritage Evaluation Report (C.H.E.R.) was required to determine the cultural heritage value of the structure.

The purpose of the C.H.E.R. is to determine if the structure or property has cultural heritage value or interest and the report for structure BR-002 found that property has value and recommended that a Heritage Impact Assessment be completed,” noted the report to council. “The C.H.E.R. report for structure BR-002 found that the bridge is an early example of its type within our area and stated ‘The subject bridge is the oldest T-Beam bridge in the Municipality of Meaford, and is therefore an early example of this bridge type in the local context. Further, as the original concrete railings are retained (with some deteriorated and unsympathetically replaced sections), the bridge is a largely intact representative example of this early twentieth-century bridge type. However, the bridge is not considered a rare or prototype example, as T-Beam bridges were common structures in North America and Ontario by this time.’ A Heritage Impact Assessment was completed for the structure BR-002 as recommended within the C.H.E.R. and included mitigation measures for the various options, which included a recommendation to create a commemorative interpretation near the structure featuring information panels and historical photographs of the existing structure and past structures at the site. Staff propose to develop a commemorative display at the trail head (Tom Thomson Trail) next to the structure following the replacement.

The timeline for the replacement of the bridge is not yet determined, though the report to council noted that, “Notice of the construction will be provided to the property owners that are affected by the structure replacement and they will be communicated with on the alternative access during the construction phase.”

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