Construction snags have delayed the opening of the Souris Swinging Bridge.
The 184-metre span over the Souris River won’t be completed until August — a month later than the anticipated Canada Day opening.
In late March, contractors hit a water main on the east side of the bridge while drilling into the ground. Just a few weeks later, workers hit a water line on west side.
Construction material made its way into the sewer line. To prevent it from making its way to the plant, a camera was sent down the line to see if any sediment was present.
"Turns out there wasn’t," said Souris Mayor Darryl Jackson, "but it’s a fairly slow process to wander all the way down to the sewer plant ... but we wanted to do that to make sure before the project is wrapped up and everybody’s gone."
In the second incident in early April, workers drilled into the raw water line coming in from nearby wells, heading to the treatment plant.
Some residents were affected by the puncture, albeit not dramatically. The plant has about three days worth of water on reserve, so the city never went dry, but some residents were out of water for a few hours.
"It didn’t cause any huge issues," Jackson said.
The engineering company, Stantec Inc., and the general contracting company, WBS Construction, will be on the hook for any additional costs as a result of the incidents.
While everything has been patched and back to normal now, the snags put the work behind schedule. Drilling issues, compounded with poor weather and delivery delays for materials, have set the opening date back four weeks.
"They’re trying to catch up I think," Jackson said. "I think we’re probably looking at August now, the new target is August long weekend."
Jackson hopes to salvage at least a bit of the tourist season with a working bridge, which he said is a big summer draw for the town.
"We’re anxious to get it up and going again."
The new bridge is going to cost roughly $3.8 million to rebuild with some funds coming from the Disaster Financial Assistance program.
The bridge is a replacement to a 177-metre span, which had to be cut free during Souris River flooding in 2011. The town was afraid the waters would rip the anchors out of the ground on either side, taking an earth dike with it.
The bridge, unlike the old span, will sway side to side instead of being bouncy, according to Jackson.
The new bridge will span 184 metres, reclaiming its former title as the longest swinging bridge in Canada, and reach new heights in hopes that it will be able to withstand the threat of a future flood.
"It’s going to be supported high up on the bank on either side, higher above the water than it originally was," Jackson told the Sun in January.