Bridge closure scare prompts coordinated response

 In News

Community members had a bit of a scare when they thought, and justifiably so, that Clearview council was ready to make a decision about the fate of the Collingwood Street Bridge.
Locals will remember a big effort to save the steel trussed Collingwood Street bridge years back but this time the bridge is an unassuming culvert with a big price tag that is further south.
On Monday, Clearview staff was seeking Council’s direction “in order to commence engineering design and permit approval” for one of two proposed options. Option 1 – Engineering and permit approval for the full replacement of the Collingwood Street Bridge, or Option 2 – Engineering and permit approval for upgrading 6/7 Sideroad and Concession 5, including the closure of the bridge and the necessary works required.
No decision was made this week. Instead, council, moved by Councillor Thom Paterson, referred the item back to staff for further determination of the comparative engineering design and construction cost estimates for both options and that staff bring the engineering design, including 2021 cost estimates to a special council meeting early in the New Year, which would include the opportunity for public consultation.
A 2019 Technical Memorandum from RJ Burnside outlines various options for the replacement of Bridge 161B-71, with costs ranging from, $1,840,000 to $2,710,000, reported deputy director of public works Dan Perreault. The firm’s 2021 report looked at the implications and required improvements that may be required to 6/7 Sideroad and Concession 5, if the Collingwood Street Bridge wasn’t replaced and closed. Options were provided for full reconstruction at $2,460,000, and rehabilitation at $400,000.
As a result Monday’s agenda was flooded with 23 letters from Creemore area residents both opposed to the bridge closure and the high cost of replacing it, with many asking for more information and an opportunity for public consultation.
“We strongly urge council to replace the Collingwood Street bridge. We urge you to prepare and present to council the costing for both replacement and closure and present it to the public before making any final decision,” writes Bruce and Anne Godwin. “There is no doubt in our minds the bridge is in urgent need of replacement from having bumped our way very slowly across it several days ago and having briefly scanned the detailed engineering reports from Burnside Engineering. The community has been counting on this bridge to be replaced based on the amount of our Clearview taxpayer dollars which was spent along with the $2.25 million from the County to rebuild the old boundary bridge just to the north.”
The bridge has been identified as being in need of replacement due to its deteriorating condition. Although staff is looking for council direction on the project now, the work has been pushed back to 2024. The $3 million project, however, is included in a bridge replacement reserve schedule totalling $12,393,076, up to the year 2030.
The bridge reserve is at $2,500,000 and according to the 2021 budget package, “Clearview has 78 bridges and culverts of varying ages and conditions that may have an average lifespan of 75 years and long-term replacement costs may average $750,000 per bridge. The replacement costs recommended by the engineers are higher than the calculated replacement costs [because] do not meet current standards of standard width and sightlines, and also due to increased regulatory control and costs as many were built before the NEC (1973) and/or the NVCA (1946) existed.”

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