The Eighth Street Bridge has been hit by a garbage truck and structural concerns mean it will be closed until further notice.
Police said early Tuesday afternoon that a vehicle had hit the beleaguered 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 allowed under the bridge as 3.3 metres. The city is now waiting on a Winnipeg structural engineer to weigh in on the damage.
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 Tuesday afternoon said that pedestrians weren’t currently allowed across, either.
The closure is expected to impact Brandon Transit routes as well as north-end residents who rely on the bridge for access to downtown.
A traffic count conducted in August 2011 by Dillon Consulting found that 3,500 vehicles crossed the bridge on an average day.
It’s not clear whether a damaged bridge would also threaten area train traffic. 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has been on the city’s radar as needing repair or replacement since at least 2009, and was at one time slated to have been replaced by 2013.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 vehicle weight limits should be imposed.
Current plans, which would keep vehicle traffic across the bridge, have costs of $20 to $34 million.
Portions of the bridge date back to its construction in 1934, although it was largely rebuilt in 1968.