© Star photo by Gary Kean
Work to revitalize the decking of the bridge leading to Humber Village begins today, with traffic flow disruption expected until the end of August.
Anybody planning on visiting or leaving Humber Village during the weekdays for the next two months may want to do some careful planning.
That’s because the private community is scheduled to finally begin its long-awaited bridge project.
Starting this morning, driving across the one-lane bridge — the lone access to the village on the north shore of the Humber River — will be prohibited between the hours of 8 a.m. to noon and from 1-6 p.m.
In a notice sent to all residents, the schedule for when traffic will be able to access the bridge was posted. The bridge will be open to traffic between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. Monday to Friday, and on Saturdays and Sundays, from July 2 until the expected completion date of Aug. 30.
“It’s a one-lane bridge, so it’s unavoidable there will be some inconvenience,” said Donna Scott, vice-chairperson of the corporation that administers Humber Village. “It’s long overdue, though, and most people are happy to see it done.”
The contractor for the job began assembling components for the project before the bridge closures came into effect. The super structure of the bridge is not going to be touched, but the work will consist of completely replacing the decking on the surface of the bridge.
According to Scott, the contractor will remove a segment of the dilapidated timber decking currently on the bridge and replace that section with the new composite material components.
While the bridge will be off-limits to regular traffic during the scheduled times, the work is designed so that emergency vehicles will be able to drive over it on short notice given to the work crew.
Scott said a contingency plan for an emergency situation has been worked out with Western Health, the RCMP and the volunteer fire brigade in neighbouring Steady Brook.
It will involve emergency responders calling ahead to the job site to notify they are on their way.
“There is a temporary plate they will have on site that can be put in place in less than five minutess and will always be ready to go,” said Scott. “The same assembly will be put in place after hours to allow access for residents.”
There will likely be lines of traffic on either side around the times when the bridge is due to open or close. The contractor will have traffic control personnel on-site to ensure vehicles move as efficiently as possible, said Scott.
In the notice sent out to residents this past weekend, Humber Village’s board of directors noted the contractor will be working in spaces on the land adjacent to both ends of the bridge and reminded people to exercise caution around these areas. Some of the roads near the bridge on the Humber Village side will also have some restricted access during the project.
“During the construction period, the contractor Brook Construction is in complete charge of the work site,” reads the project update provided to residents. “For safety and work efficiency reasons, the closure is absolute.”
The board said it intends to use all means it has at its disposal to keep all residents informed and updated on the project’s progress, including sending messages via email, Facebook, Canada Post and the village’s message board. A website will also soon be launched.