Centre Wellington Township is prepared to deal with problems it encounters with its bridges, and is making plans in case it has to close them or lower weight limits on some of them.
Councillor Walt Visser told council his operations committee was making a number of recommendations to staff in its annual bridge report. The committee was recommending that the township receive the biennial bridge inspection report and approve the following work to be completed by the Public Works Department:
– in 2008, through a bylaw, provide the recommended posted load limits on all structures for legal enforcement;
– correct placement of hazard markers as recommended by the senior structural engineer, of Triton Engineering Services Limited;
– continue to adhere to the monitoring program that was brought up to date in the report;
– where bridge railings and barriers are in poor condition, review in conjunction with Triton, on a case by case basis, whether temporary pre-cast barriers are necessary to provide safety and reduce the risk of collision;
– continue to perform a traffic study to determine the volume of traffic and percentage and type of various vehicles using the bridges; and
– in the case where a structure is recommended for a decrease in load limits or closure that could possibly affect school bus travel, emergency vehicles, and the movement of agricultural vehicles, institute a review by the Director of Public Works, Road Superintendent, Fire Chief and representatives of Triton. That review will consider travel times for emergency vehicles and the safety of the citizens of Centre Wellington in relation to the reduction in load limits or closure.
The review will also consider various scenarios such as estimates for short term repairs, all ramifications associated with the reduction or closure, including permanent closure.
Once the review is concluded, a full report complete with available options and a recommended option, will be presented to the operations committee for its decision, which will be forwarded to council for its approval.
Visser said it is important council is prepared if bridges have deteriorated to a point where there are load reductions or closures.
Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj noted two bridges will soon be officially re-opened, out of the 104 bridges the township owns. And, she said, not all of them are in poor repair. Only 32 need work.
Councillor Fred Morris wanted to know what the study will accomplish.
Visser said such things as traffic counts help determine spending priorities, and the study would also calculate rerouting for such things as school buses and emergency vehicles if bridges are unable to carry that traffic.
Public Works Director Ken Elder said the study not only determines the traffic over a bridge, but the type of vehicles that are using it.
He offered to provide council with the complete bridge report, but, at 500 pages, there were few immediate takers.
Councillor Kirk McIlwain asked if the report is a long term strategy.
Elder said the bridge study must be completed every two years.