Traffic movement through a significant portion of peninsular Halifax will be affected next year when Canadian National Railway Co. begins work to replace three dilapidated railway bridges in the city’s south end.
CN fought the city over who was responsible for maintaining seven railway bridges in the south end and therefore responsible for their replacement, but the matter has been settled after a protracted legal fight with the railway given responsibility for replacing the structure and the regional municipality obligated to pay for road and utility repairs.
Halifax Water is seeking an additional $1.4 million for the Quinpool Road CN Rail utility bridge.
Previous funding of $697,000 for the road bridge’s water and wastewater infrastructure replacement was approved by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board as part of the 2018-19 capital budget.
“At the time of budget preparations, it was assumed that the new water and wastewater piping would be installed in a similar methodology as existing conditions,” wrote Carl Yates, general manager of Halifax Water, in a funding request to the utility board on Thursday.
The current water and sewer infrastructure, installed in 1916, are in the concrete arch.
“Unfortunately, the thickness of the new concrete arch prevents the installation of new utility lines because the road base is too shallow to accommodate new mains,” said the general manager.
Hatch, an international engineering company with an office in Halifax, is CN’s bridge design consultant. It has recommended a separate utility bridge be constructed next to the existing road bridge to avoid the expense and risk of having to temporarily pump or convey wastewater around the construction site.
The consulting company’s revised cost estimate was $743,948, excluding HST, said Yates.
In order to make the scheduled start date of April 2019, the project was broken into two tenders, said Halifax Water’s general manager.
The tender for supply of the utility bridge was awarded to Algonquin Bridge for $195,438, excluding HST.
Construction of the utility bridge, which will span the rail-cut on the north side of the existing bridge, is to be carried out this winter, said Yates.
A second tender, for installation of the bridge and relocated services, closed on Nov. 15 with submissions from Atlantic Road Construction and Paving Ltd., Dexter Construction and Brycon Construction for $1.48 million, $1.484 million and $1.815 million, respectively. The tender will be awarded based on funding approval from the utility board.
Coun. Shawn Cleary, who represents the area that includes the Quinpool Road bridge, said replacing the bridges is a safety issue and is at the point “where it’s got to be done.”
“One of the first questions I had when I got elected was, ‘Why are those there, why do we need to protect pedestrians?’” recalled the district councillor about the jersey barriers around the bridge in a phone interview.
“I remember the look on our transportation directors’ faces, they said: ‘Councillor, they’re not there to protect pedestrians, they’re there to protect the bridge.’ Because if someone hits them, I mean those railings will just collapse and they’ll go down,” Cleary said.
“Thankfully, we don’t have to pay for the bridge itself,” said the councillor.
“The municipality’s capital budget has allocated $845,000 for the bridge rehabilitation on Quinpool Road,” states the HRM website.
The Quinpool Road bridge is one of three CN-owned bridges to be rehabilitated in 2019.
Belmont-on-the-Arm and Marlborough Wood arch bridges are also to undergo repairs next year, with funding from the municipality yet to be determined.
The three structures are predicted to cost the municipality $1.8 million, based on preliminary estimates provided by engineers, states the website.
CN did not respond to request for comment.
Railway Bridge Replacement