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Eighth Street Bridge closed until further notice

A patrol car blocks the south entrance to the Eighth Street Bridge after a vehicle struck the bridge on Tuesday, causing structural concerns.

GRANT HAMILTON / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

A patrol car blocks the south entrance to the Eighth Street Bridge after a vehicle struck the bridge on Tuesday, causing structural concerns.

The Eighth Street Bridge has been hit by a garbage truck and structural concerns mean it will be closed until further notice.

A garbage truck appears to be responsible for closing the Eighth Street Bridge on Tuesday, after hitting concrete crossbeams under the bridge along Assiniboine Avenue. The bridge will be closed indefinitely as engineers assess the damage.

Enlarge Image

A garbage truck appears to be responsible for closing the Eighth Street Bridge on Tuesday, after hitting concrete crossbeams under the bridge along Assiniboine Avenue. The bridge will be closed indefinitely as engineers assess the damage. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD / BRANDON SUN)

Police said early Tuesday afternoon that a vehicle had hit the beleagured bridge and that the city's engineering department had been called out to evaluate the damage. Photos show that the culprit was a private company's garbage truck carrying a large refuse bin.

The impact appears to be directly beside a sign marking the maximum height of the bridge as 3.3 metres.

Motorists are advised to find alternate routes. There's currently no traffic being allowed either over the bridge, or under it along Assiniboine Avenue. Acting cautiously, a police officer blocking traffic at the scene said that pedestrians weren't currently allowed across, either.

The closure is expected to impact some Brandon Transit routes as well as North End residents who rely on the bridge for access to downtown.

It's not clear whether a damaged bridge would threaten train traffic underneath. At least two trains were parked underneath the bridge when the crash happened.

The Eighth Street Bridge has been on the city's radar as needing repair or replacement since at least 2009, and was at one time slated to have been replaced by 2013. It is currently in the budget for 2015, although no firm plans have been made about its future.

Some believe that the bridge should be turned into a pedestrian and active-transportation link, or that weight limits should be placed on it. Current plans, produced by Dillon Consulting, show continuing vehicle traffic across the bridge, but at costs of $20–34 million.

Portions of the bridge date back to the 1930s.

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