Councillors opt for Collingwood St bridge replacement

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Clearview council voted Monday to proceed with engineering and permit approval for the full replacement of Bridge 161b-71.

The bridge is located on Collingwood Street, south of the steel truss bridge, and comes with a hefty price tag while servicing a limited number of residents.

Council received 10 letters opposing the closure of the Collingwood Street Bridge, and has received many others in the past from people who use the bridge to access their homes, and those who walk along the picturesque road.

Concerned with budget constraints, council was once again discussing whether to opt for full replacement with a 34-metre span bridge, or close the bridge and reconstruct Concession 5 and 6/7 Sideroad as an alternate route.

Council is proceeding with steps to replace the bridge, finding that it is the cheaper option.

An updated engineering report from RJ Burnside pegs the expected project costs associated with the bridge replacement option at $3,453,089, while the cost of closing the bridge and reconstructing Concession 5 and 6/7 Sideroad is expected to be $5,343,437, much higher than the 2019 estimates.

“It is expected that the construction of the bridge would take place in 2024,” reported Dan Perreault, deputy director of public works for Clearview

Township. “If council continues to contribute $788,000 towards this reserve, it is expected that there will be approximately $4,500,000, in the reserve at the end of 2024. This would be a sufficient amount to fund the bridge replacement, if no other bridge projects are completed between 2023 and 2024.”

The bridge is just one replacement project included in a reserve schedule totalling $12,393,076, up to the year 2030. 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.

As part of the bridge replacement work, the road grade will be increased and the hill to the south of the bridge will be cut down to improve sight lines for traffic and pedestrians who use the road. Retaining walls will be required to minimize property acquisition and reduce impact to the natural environment.

Monday’s motion to proceed with the bridge replacement was moved by Creemore councillor Thom Paterson and seconded by Deputy Mayor Barry Burton, also a Creemore resident, and was supported unanimously by all council members.

Councillor Doug McKechnie was hoping that a less costly solution could be found by taking a more modest approach to the project but engineer Jeremy Cober said options were explored and considering what would be involved to swap in a culvert – land acquisition, retaining walls, compensation for tree-cutting, Niagara Escarpment Commission permits, other development permits, and fill options – it pushed the costs up and ended up being more costly than the bridge replacement.

Cober said retaining a single lane crossing would not likely be allowed due to the profile of the roadway. Council has not had their final say on the project. It will be coming back for tender approval, when the true costs will be revealed.

Perreault noted that regardless of council’s decision, upgrades to Concession 5 and 6/7 Sideroad will have to be done at some point in the future, as part of the township’s regular road work schedule.

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