Work begins this week on covered bridge - Sep. 24, 2013
There will be a welcome sight this week around the Maxwell Crossing covered bridge for its advocates: Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Crews.
After announcing that the bridge will in fact be restored, MLA Curtis Malloch said that this week work crews will begin preparing for the restoration.
“They’re going to try and get in there to get their environmental stuff worked out,” said Malloch. That will include putting booms down in the water should any construction materials fall into the Denis stream, and making sure the bridge is properly supported when work begins.
“They’re even bringing a guy from Sussex for the first couple days while they’re doing the planning stage, and he’s got 30 years of experience doing covered bridges.”
The bridge was damaged Jan. 21 when a car crashed into the south side of the bridge which links the two sides of the Maxwell Crossing Road.
In February, a public meeting to discuss the future of the bridge was held by the Local Service District (LSD) of Denis-Weston. Now that the restoration has been announced, the organizers of that meeting are pleased.
“I attribute a lot of it to the public meeting we had in February and the support that came out of it,” said Trish Hopkins, the secretary of the LSD. “As long as they’re starting something and have good engineering input, we’ll be happy with that.”
The LSD also began a petition to restore the bridge, which garnered more than 800 signatures. One of those signatures was Malloch’s.
Now that the bridge is going to be restored, Hopkins said the LSD is going to explore the possibility of developing the space around it. She said there is the possibility of creating a green space around the bridge and improving access to Denis Stream for kayakers. Also, the LSD may explore having the bridge designated as a provincial heritage site.
“We were talking about it a bit before the bridge was hit, so that’s just continuing the conversation.”
Hopkins isn’t just a member of the LSD, she lives on Maxwell Crossing Road, which was cut in two when the bridge was damaged and the link between the two sides was severed. “That’s kind of a vital link for emergency vehicle and other residents.”
While no emergencies cropped up, Hopkins said if there was one along the road emergency crews would have to travel to Moores Mills to get from the Number 3 to the 750. The town of St. Stephen has also previously outlined that not having a bridge in that location could create delays if there is ever a problem with their water supply. Two pieces of their treatment equipment are on opposite sides of the bridge, and town works crews would have to take the similar Moores Mills route several times to fix a problem if one occurred.
During the July 29 floods, some residents of the upper reaches of Route 750 were isolated for a period of time due to rising waters and the fact the bridge was closed to traffic.
While Malloch said he is personally excited about being able to announce the bridge will be fixed, that the transportation crews are equally enthusiastic. “It’s a local bridge, and they’re pretty excited about it.”
As far as how much the repair will cost, and when cars can once again pas through the bridge, that’s not yet known.
“It’s going to take some time to build it, there’s no timeline yet on what the completion will be,” said Malloch. “I don’t have anything on cost yet.”
Even if the bridge isn’t fixed until 2014, Hopkins is still feeling satisfied with the result. “It’s survived 110 plus years, so I think it could survive another winter.”