Lamorie Street Bridge study awarded

Councillor questions whether demand merits $9M replacement

The City of North Bay awarded a tender to Towards Sustainable Infrastructure Inc., Tuesday, to assess the condition of the Lamorie Street Bridge. Michael Lee/The Nugget jpg, NB

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The City of North Bay has awarded a contract to have a study carried out on the potential costs to repair or replace the Lamorie Street Bridge.

Council voted Tuesday to have Towards Sustainable Infrastructure Inc. perform a condition survey of the nearly six-decade-old bridge, located in the city’s south end just north of the Lakeshore Drive and Pinewood Park Drive intersection, at a cost of $87,000, plus HST.

Inspections in recent years have shown the bridge continues to deteriorate and the city is faced with either rehabilitating or replacing the structure or closing it off to traffic.

The city received two other proposals, with Towards Sustainable Infrastructure Inc. scoring the highest in the bidding process.

A total of $95,000 is expected to be needed to complete the study.

Coun. Mac Bain said he is looking forward to the results, but noted that the cost to replace the bridge was estimated a few years back at $9 million — a city infrastructure engineer, last month, said the cost may be closer to $10 million based on similar work that was done on the Lakeshore Drive Overpass.

“And yes, there are vehicles that do transition over that bridge, but it’s not $9 million worth,” Bain said.

“I think this council, once we see that report, has to have a fulsome discussion amongst ourselves. We need to talk to the surrounding neighbourhood that’s there, the businesses that use it and have a conversation about the life of this bridge after we see the report.”

Coun. Mark King, who is running for the People’s Party of Canada in the upcoming federal election, pointed to the importance of determining if there is a use for the Lamorie Street Bridge at its current location.

“As we watch (Highway) 17B right now over Duchesnay Creek, and the fact that that bridge has been closed down now for probably in excess of eight months begins to put questions in the public’s mind as to whether or not some of these bridges are actually viable. And if they’re not viable, do we actually have the capital dollars to repair them.”

Coun. Chris Mayne, who heads the city’s infrastructure and operations committee, formerly known as engineering and works, noted the committee is not proposing, and would probably be reluctant to propose, that the city pursue a $9-million project at this time.

He said similar to the King’s Landing redevelopment at the waterfront, there may be opportunities to receive partner funding from the federal and provincial governments in order to reduce the city’s own costs.

The Lamorie Street Bridge extends over the Lavase River and the Ottawa Valley Railway.

Originally built in 1960 by the provincial Ministry of Transportation, the last major rehabilitation of the bridge took place in 1979, before the city assumed ownership in the 1980s.

The bridge has two-lanes for north and southbound traffic, a sidewalk on either side, and an average annual daily traffic volume of approximately 2,900 vehicles, 14 per cent of which is commercial traffic.

Documents provided during the bidding process state that recent inspections have revealed “signs of delamination, spalling and disintegration to some components, as well as exposed rebar and rust spots.”

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