March 12, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - A two-phase approach to modernize the Princess Margaret Bridge in Fredericton by 2011 has been announced by Transportation Minister Denis Landry.
"We have budgeted $12 million this capital construction season to accelerate the important rehabilitation of this major structure for Route 8 traffic across the Saint John River," said Landry. "We are proceeding as quickly as possible to have necessary upgrades started."
A tender is being issued for Phase 1 of the project. This will be for the repair and replacement of bearing blocks and bridge bearings which allow the structure to expand and contract. There will also be selected repairs to the superstructure and steel bridge members. Work on Phase 1 will be completed this construction season.
The department will be awarding a tender this fall for Phase 2. Qualified firms will be asked to submit a design and rehabilitation proposal in the coming weeks. Components will include upgrading of the structural steel work, existing piers and abutment concrete; replacement of the railing systems, deck slab, and expansion joint assemblies; and painting, waterproofing and paving.
"Enhanced safety measures will be in place during the construction period, as a followup to our successful Go Slow in construction zones campaign," said Landry. "We will be using new electronic signage informing drivers of their speeds as they approach the bridge."
The 1,098-metre-long bridge was built in 1957, and is a 23-span steel structure with a concrete deck. Due to its age and condition, load limits were reduced in November to a maximum of 43,500 kilograms, in order to prevent overstressing. This measure was a result of the Department of Transportation's bi-annual bridge inspection program.
Following the inspection, the department engaged design, engineering and material consultants to give a more thorough analysis of the bridge and clearly identify necessary upgrades.
"This government has unveiled an aggressive capital program for this and the upcoming construction season," said Landry. "This gives us the opportunity to expedite projects such as the Princess Margaret Bridge rehabilitation, so that we can expand the service live of this structure for another 40-50 years. I want to commend Department of Transportation staff, who have been very proactive."
Landry said that the objective is to have the rehabilitation work done while reducing inconvenience to the public. At a minimum, the bridge will be open to traffic during core business hours Monday to Friday.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Holland, communications, Department of Transportation, 506-453-5634.