FALL RIVER: Work to replace the Fall River bridge is on schedule, says HRM.
Brendan Elliott, senior communications spokesman with HRM, said crews from Dexter Construction, the company that won the project’s bid, are currently working at installing a cofferdam to help them while they work in the water.
“The weather has cooperated for us in a way that couldn’t have been better. If it had rained a significant amount then the water level may have risen and that could have caused some difficulty getting the work done,” he said.
He explained what’s happening now is that crews are installing a cofferdam, which is a water tight enclosure pumped dry to allow construction work below the water line.
“Essentially its creating a dam around the area they need to work on so they don’t have water where they need to go,” he said. “That’s what they’re doing now. It’ll take two to three days to finish that up.”
That involves laying down sandbags around the water where they need to put the footings.
“Once in place they will do the excavation of the footings that are there, which will take two to three days,” he said. “The span itself from one side to the other is 11 metres. When the old footings are removed they’ll put in the new abutments in place.
“The pre-fab parts will be put in on top of the footings. The new structure is going to be 125.6 metres wide, as opposed to the old structure being 11 metres wide. There’s going to be a third lane on the bridge, for a right turn lane onto Highway 2.”
He said the nice sunny weather has been a great bonus too, as far as crews have gotten in the first two weeks of the project. He made a guesstimate that it would be late July or early August when the new structure would be in place.
“We have built in two weeks of wiggle room in this project where if weather isn’t our friend, we’re going to be okay,” said Elliott in a July 21 interview with The Laker. “We’re confident we will remain on schedule and have the bridge back open by Aug. 26.”
Elliott said he would characterize the feedback crews from Dexter that are on site and talking to residents who have come to have a gander at what is taking place as people not being happy about the long commute, but they know it has to be done.
“It’s sort of a necessary evil,” he said.
He said the new bridge should arrive on site late July, and the new structure should be in place by early August.
Elliott said crews are at the site seven days a week, working 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, and starting at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. on Sundays.
“There’s really no room for rest,” he said “We really are trying to make this as short of an interruption as possible.”