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Friday, May 4, 2018

Chesley Bridge Work Is Starting.

Chesley | by John Divinski  

Officials aim to have a new bridge in place by Christmas.

Chesley residents should see some activity shortly around the now-closed Chesley Bridge.

Bruce County Director of Corporate Services Bettyanne Cobean says they've awarded the bridge demolition contract to Schouten Excavating of Watford, Ontario for just over $264,000 ($264,483).

Schouten officials, along with municipal and county officials were on hand at the bridge on Thursday, May 3rd for a visual on the work ahead.

Warden and Mayor of Arran Elderslie Paul Eagleson says the actual demolition work should begin in a week or so.

He points out that they are on schedule with the calendar they set out recently at a public meeting on the replacement of the bridge.

Eagleson says a lot of work is being done behind the scenes.

He says, among other things, girders for the bridge have been pre-ordered and will be ready when a construction company is named to do the build.

Tenders for the build will go out the week of May 7th.

Cobean says the old bridge should be demolished by June 8th.

Construction of a new bridge should start after that with completion before the end of 2018.

As a matter of fact, Eagleson says he'd like to see the annual Santa Claus parade using the new bridge this winter.

In the meantime, Bruce County councillors have approved asking the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to activate the Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance program to help pay for the bridge costs.

The county has already got its own money in the coffers for the 3.2-million-dollar replacement, should the province not help out, but its hoped there will be some money from the provincial disaster fund.

You may recall the Chesley Bridge was damaged beyond repair by ice floes and water this past February and had to be closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

It effectively, divided the town in two with those north of the bridge and the downtown core, south of the bridge.

Detours are currently in place.

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