Closed last year for a couple of months due to emergency repairs, the Glasgow Street bridge in Conestogo will be out of commission for another eight weeks or so starting in mid-October.
The closure will allow for medium-term rehabilitation of the 124-year-old structure. Some of the stringers will be replaced, a new deck is to be installed using laminated wood, a waterproofing treatment will be applied, followed by a new tar-and-chip surface.
Meeting Tuesday night, Woolwich councillors awarded a $267,000 contract to Looby Builders of Dublin, Ont. to carry out the work, expected to get underway Oct. 12.
Dan Kennaley, the township’s director of engineering and planning, said the project would take about two months to complete, with the bridge reopening by mid-December. While the bridge would be structurally sound at that point, the final work – including the waterproofing and resurfacing – would be put off until next summer, when the weather is more cooperative.
While the reconstruction would bring the bridge back up to previous standards, officials are eager to keep traffic to a minimum. In that light, the township is concerned about the impact of a new subdivision to be built in Waterloo, near the area of Glasgow Street South and Country Squire Road. A new collector road – Millennium Boulevard – proposed for the site could end up encouraging drivers to use Glasgow Street as a bypass for Northfield Drive,
Kennaley suggested. That would see more traffic than advisable putting stress on the single-lane bridge.
Staff will be talking with their counterparts in the city to look at ways to keep commuters from using the bridge, including prohibiting left-hand turns from Millennium Boulevard onto Glasgow Street, he said.
Noting drivers would find a way to use the route despite such measures, Coun. Mark Bauman suggested Glasgow Street could be made a one-way road southbound, an idea Kennaley said he’d add to the list while exploring the options.
The bridge is already carrying far more traffic than was intended when it was built in 1886. While the structure has been deemed historically significant, it has no official designation under the Ontario Heritage Act.