OAKFIELD: The community of Oakfield had it’s first look at plans from Nova Scotia’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and Renewal (NSTIR) to replace the Oakfield Park bridge, beginning in a year-and-a-half’s time.
At the community consultation on Oct. 22 at St. Margaret’s Church in Oakfield, residents saw the plans that were placed in a couple of spots in the church and plans that were laid out on a table at the back of the church for the new bridge, which will cost approximately $2 million.
The current bridge is a single-lane, 31 metre span built with steel truss which crosses over a CN Rail line. The new bridge structure will be two lane, single span (25 metre) of poured concrete grinders, with a steel reinforced deck bridge and sidewalk that will have a steel bridge railing.
While residents welcome the bridge being replaced, with many saying it’s long overdue, a few voiced concerns with the new design opening a can of worms to non-stop speeding, which is a current issue despite the one lane bridge.
“I think it’s ugly; it needs to be steel and not concrete,” said a long-time resident who wished her name not be used.
The woman feared with a concrete bridge that something similar to what happened at a bridge in Montreal that was newly built and made of concrete would happen to the Oakfield Park bridge.
According to information in a handout of the bridge replacement project, a portion of Meadowvale Lane will see a change in vertical alignment to connect with Oakfield Park Road. The new bridge will be constructed on a new alignment north of the existing structure running skew to the rail line. A portion of the current road will be eliminated on either side and likely access blocked once the new bridge is complete and in place.
“The existing road and bridge will remain open throughout construction,” said NS TIR representative Matt Clarke, who was among three TIR officials on-0hand to answer questions. “The old bridge will only be removed upon completion of the new structure and traffic can be moved onto the new bridge.”
He said TIR is currently working with CN to acquire the necessary permits to complete the work.
“There will be a few utility poles that will require they be moved as well in order to finish the construction,” said Clarke.
Clarke said the detailed design of the bridge is complete. Once work begins in the spring/summer of 2021, it’s expected to take between six to nine months to complete the job.
That would make for a late 2021, early 2022 opening of the new Oakfield Park bridge.