City covers Gertrude bridge shortfall

Gertrude Bridge: | Widened bridge will be completed by Christmas.

Draftsman Paul McKinnon and K&G Installations owner Frank Morris go over plans for the widening of the Gertrude Street bridge over Kitsuksis creek on Oct. 14.

Cyclists taking the Gertrude Street bridge over Kitsuksis Creek will get a Christmas present this year—a wider span and a divider between them and the cars zipping past. It just might be a slightly more expensive present than previously planned.

City engineer Guy Cicon was up in front of city council on Oct. 13 to present K&G Installations’ winning bid of $249,500—money that was thought to be in the budget.

In an Oct. 7 report, Cicon noted that the capital budget allocated $250,000 for the bridge widening project; this included funds left over from the separate pedestrian bridge over Kitsuksis completed last year and an extra $75,000 that was requested to meet the costs of the vehicle bridge.

The calculation was found to be incorrect and the $75,000 was already included in the $173,000 leftover from 2014, leaving a $77,000 shortfall.

Council voted to take $27,000 from the gas tax fund and $50,000 from an Athol Street project to make up the shortfall. The Athol Street project was chosen to be cut from the budget because it is unlikely to occur anytime soon, Cicon said.

“We don’t see that going this year or next year or in an upcoming year,” said Cicon.

Budget considerations aside, city streets superintendent Wilf Taekema is eager to get started.

“It’s an exciting little project. The existing sidewalks that are on there—and they’re raised above the roadway—those will be removed,” said city Taekema.

They’ll be replaced with “pre-cast concrete deck supported by girders underneath.”

“A four-foot concrete guard rail will separate the bicycle path from the vehicles,” said Taekema.

A steel fence will separate the outside of the bike lane from the river below.

The bike lane will be 1.9 metres as per provincial regulations; that opposed to the current 1.5 metre sidewalk.

The work done on the bridge will also encompass the bridge’s underside.

“There’s quite a bit of woodwork and steel work that has to be done,” Taekema said.

“We’ve got our water main hanging there as well which we’ll have to take out and replace. We’ve got a gas line on the other side which the gas company is now saying they want to relocate to the other side of the bridge.”

The work to replace the top of the bridge will start in mid-November, Taekema said.

“Let’s hope we’re done by Christmas.”

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