Smiths Falls looking at options for Confederation Bridge
It is one of the many projects the town of Smiths Falls has identified for completion in its most recent Strategic Plan.
Closed to traffic for safety reasons in 2015, Confederation Bridge has been out of commission for the past four years. Now the town is looking at options that could see the bridge rehabilitated.
“The commitment at this stage is to gain a deeper understanding of the options available, and the cost of those options,” said Mayor Shawn Pankow.
It was clear from council members comments that there is broad support for re-opening the bridge.
“I’m hoping tonight we can agree on how to return this bridge back to its former glory,” said Councillor Lorraine Allen.
In spite of having been closed for as long as it has, Confederation bridge still has some useful life left in it, according to Director of Public Works and Utilities, Troy Dunlop.
“There’s a number of options available from restoring the existing bridge as a one lane bridge, restoring it as an active transportation, cycling/walking bridge only, to replace it with a single lane bridge or replace it with a two lane bridge,” Pankow told Lake 88.
“The only option I would not support is replacing the bridge altogether,” said Councillor Niki Dwyer, voicing the general consensus among council members.
Replacing the bridge altogether is not a preferred option and would trigger a new and lengthy Environmental Assessment.
One of the concerns is the volume of traffic that might be inclined to use the bridge, especially if the Old Water Treatment Plant gets developed into a hotel, convention centre and community space.
The old bridge is a one-lane structure, and is narrower than what would be considered standard for vehicular traffic today, according to Dunlop.
Staff, now have direction to explore options and costs for rehabilitating the bridge.
“I would like to see this bridge restored,” concluded Allen.
Copyright © 2019 Lake 88. All rights reserved.