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Several P.E.I. bridges to be replaced this year

Provincial bridge engineer Neil Lawless shows the plans for the replacement of the McCannel bridge at the Fort Augustus Recreation Centre April 19. Bridge construction is set to begin May 14.
Provincial bridge engineer Neil Lawless shows the plans for the replacement of the McCannel bridge at the Fort Augustus Recreation Centre April 19. Bridge construction is set to begin May 14. - Katie Smith

The province will be bridging the gap in seven areas of P.E.I. this year as work on replacement bridges will begin at the end of the month.

Neil Lawless, a bridge engineer with the province, said last year an assessment of Island bridges was conducted, and the ones most in need of work were identified.

Lawless was in Fort Augustus April 19 to speak to the public about the replacement of the McCannel Bridge that starts next month.

Construction for the projects have been scheduled to have the least amount of impact on residents in an area, he said.

“We’re trying our best to slot them in time-wise, based on the area and the impact on the local economy, on tourism and agriculture and fishing, to try and minimize impact,” he said prior to the presentation.

Related: No traffic disruptions for work on Murray Harbour Bridge

The McCannel Bridge replacement will begin May 14 and will last about six weeks, at which time a detour will be put in place. Lawless said the net detour – or extra amount of driving - is 5.7 km.

The area affected isn’t a “heavy” agricultural area, Lawless said, adding he doesn’t believe businesses will be affected.

Ten minutes after the presentation was supposed to start, one resident showed up, but he didn’t have any concerns.

The tender for the bridge replacement was awarded to Island Coastal, and Lawless said it will cost about $500,000.

Six of the seven bridges being replaced will each take about six weeks to complete, with the exception of the Murray Harbour Bridge, which Lawless said will take between 24 and 26 weeks.

The structures are more than half a century old, and it’s time they are replaced, he said.

“We’re replacing bridges now that were built in the ’50s and ’60s. We suspect that the bridges we build today, we’re aiming (they’ll last) 50 to 100 years.”

Bridge funding was announced for the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy during the 2018-19 capital budget.

At a glance

Here are the construction start dates, locations, costs and contractors

April 30: Woodville Mills Bridge; $400,000; Gaudette’s Transit Mix (Tignish)

May 7: Dock Road Bridge; $250,000; Noye & Noye Construction (Tyne Valley)

July 3: Lorne Valley Bridge; $1.2 million (combined with Hazelgreen Road costs); Noye & Noye Construction

July 16: Murray Harbour Bridge; $2.5 million; not yet tendered

July 23: Hazelgreen Road Bridge; (combined with Lorne Valley project); Noye & Noye Construction

Sept. 4: Little Harbour Bridge; $900,000; not yet tendered

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