Another timeline has come and gone for the dilapidated Eighth Street bridge.
As of yesterday, the structure has been closed for exactly 20 weeks, and isn’t expected to open to traffic until later this month.
Patrick Pulak, the city’s director of engineering, said the new beam for the bridge is in Winnipeg, where it is being welded and galvanized.
"They did an inspection … they had some issues with the welding," Pulak said. "They have to do some work on that."
The beam should be arriving in Brandon later this week, and is expected to be installed next Monday or Tuesday. Pulak said that is when they expect to open the bridge back up to traffic.
The bridge has been shut down since Jan. 14, when a private dump truck slammed into the underside of the structure. The collision caused major damage to the bridge’s lateral support.
The process for getting the bridge repaired has proven to be much longer than expected. Since the collision, there have been several different timelines the city failed to meet. Originally, mid-February was the goal, which was bumped to the end of April, and the last timeline given was mid-May.
The reason for the delay, according to the city, was that the damages were more serious than originally thought. The project also had to go to tender, which took some extra time. And now, there are some issues with welding.
Ben Wiebe Construction Ltd. was awarded the contract for the repair of the bridge at the beginning of April, at a cost of $87,700.
The city has a claim filed with Manitoba Public Insurance, and city manager Scott Hildebrand previously told the Sun he expects MPI will cover the entire cost of the repair.
Coun. Corey Roberts (Rosser) inquired about the bridge repair at last night’s council meeting.
"I know it’s one of the things that’s on their agenda that they would like off their plate," Roberts said. "They were already busy enough with other projects that they didn’t need somebody’s mistake to cost them time and energy."
Coun. Stephen Montague (Richmond) said the bridge closure is "obviously frustrating" for people in the area and for residents who use it.
"They want a date where they know they can once again use the Eighth Street bridge," he said. "But I think the bigger discussion is what should the Eighth Street bridge be moving forward?"
Montague said he believes the future of the bridge should be a pedestrian crossing or active transportation bridge.
"But the future of that is up to the province on when they are going to prioritize the 18th Street bridge. We have a traffic jam there, traffic is backed up, that’s a priority of the city, it should be a priority of the province."
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