By RYAN KING
PORT AUX BASQUES – Motorists travelling over the bridge at the end of High Street that leads into the Marine Atlantic Vehicle Check-in may have noticed its increasing deterioration. Chunks of material can be seen missing from the bridge, with barricades below to restrict access to areas where the debris may fall. It may come as no surprise that the bridge is nearing the end of its usefulness.
“The bridge was built in 1965, is near the end of its life, and is no longer a major route in the community,” said Brian Scott, Director of Communication with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.
That Department of Transportation has made an effort to keep the bridge intact and usable. There has been noticeable maintenance work done on the bridge this summer, including installation of a barrier below the bridge.
“Maintenance on the bridge, such as repairs to asphalt and rails, are completed when necessary. Recent repairs were completed by a contractor this summer. Flakes of rusted steel have fallen from the bridge and fencing has been erected below the bridge on the Marine Atlantic property to prevent people from walking underneath,” said Scott.
Scott also noted that the bridge’s load limit was also reduced to 10 tonnes given its condition. The bridge then would seem to have a shaky future, though the Department of Transportation will be sending in engineers to further assess what might be done with the overpass.
“Engineers from Harbourside Engineering inspected the bridge in August and the department anticipates receiving the report this fall. Engineers from the department have also been on site recently assessing the area. Both of these will help determine next steps for the future of the bridge,” said Scott.