BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
The Eighth Street Bridge is closed after a crossbeam was struck by a five-ton truck on Tuesday.
The person who slammed a five-ton truck into the underside of the Eighth Street Bridge — shutting it down indefinitely — has been charged.
Police say the driver will face charges under the Highway Traffic Act for disobeying a traffic control device. They say the vehicle was taller than the posted clearance under the bridge. According to the province, that ticket comes with a $203.80 fine.
Patrick Pulak, the city’s deputy director of engineering services, said there is visible damage to the bridge, including stress cracks due to the impact of the collision.
The commercial truck was carrying a large dump bin and was headed west on Assiniboine Avenue when it struck a support beam under the bridge during the noon hour Tuesday, police say.
The bridge remains closed until further notice, as is Assiniboine Avenue between Eight Street North and Ninth Street North. Neither vehicles nor pedestrians are allowed across.
A structural engineer from Winnipeg was expected to assess the bridge Wednesday, but poor weather has forced that evaluation to be postponed until today.
"Until we have the gentleman come in to take a look at it, it’s just a wait and see," Pulak said. "My expertise doesn’t lie in the structural area, so it’s not really appropriate for me to be making judgment calls on that, and that’s why you call in the people who have the expertise."
Trains are still allowed to pass underneath the bridge.
"There doesn’t appear to be any damage to the supporting infrastructure or any of the decking," Pulak said. "It’s just the one lateral brace that seems to be damaged."
As far as a timeline for assessing the structure, Pulak said that will be a wait-and-see situation as well.
"What we want to do is ensure the safety and structural integrity of the bridge so it’s safe for people," he said. "So if (the structural engineer) can look at it and make a judgment call at that time ... good. If not, if he needs to go back and make a few calculations, then that’s what we have to do."
Meanwhile, bus routes that normally cross the bridge are being re-routed. The city urges riders to call the Brandon Transit information office at 204-729-2300 for more information.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 16, 2014