The opening of University Drive Bridge to motorists is now scheduled to take place on Friday, March 8.
“Early February’s severe weather — including freezing rain, snow and extreme cold — slowed the pace of repairs and delayed the reopening by a week. Particularly during the freezing rain, work had to slow down or even halt for a few days to ensure worker safety,” said Elizabeth Krische, Western’s Associate Vice-President (Facilities Management).
The bridge has been closed to all but pedestrians and cyclists since October 18 after an inspection showed deterioration in the bearings that help the bridge to flex under load in fluctuating temperatures.
In an effort to open the bridge as soon as possible, contractors have been working 10- and 12-hour days.
Bearings on both ends of the bridge have been replaced, but there are still 590 rivets to be removed — each of them six centimetres long, and original to the 95-year-old bridge — so that the bridge can be jacked and the centre-span bearings replaced.
Cars, trucks, ambulances and regular-sized transit and shuttle buses will be able to resume using the bridge. However, a 12-tonne load limit will remain in place that prohibits articulated buses, concrete trucks and fire trucks from crossing.
Upon re-opening, the bridge remains a shared roadway and vehicles will still not be permitted to pass bicycles anywhere on the bridge.
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