Key Questions and Answers
Q: The closure is going to result in a 45 minute detour route. Did Parks Canada seek out alternative solutions?
Parks Canada explored the possibility of a temporary (Bailey type) bridge. However, it was deemed to be impractical as the existing concrete structures supporting the bridge also need extensive work. A temporary bridge spanning across this space would interfere with concrete pouring and setting which is an essential part of the project.
Q: How long will the bridge be closed, now that it’s a full replacement project?
The bridge closure is not anticipated to extend beyond the projected sixteen weeks. This includes the time needed to decommission the bridge and make extensive and critical concrete repairs. More project details will be known when the design consultant develops a project plan, in consultation with Public Works and Government Services Canada, which is managing the project, and with Parks Canada.
Q: What is the project schedule now?
Because of design and contract complexities - the Hastings Swing Bridge replacement has been delayed by one year and is now projected for completion in 2015.
Parks Canada expects the design portion of the contract will be completed by March 2014, with off-site fabrication of the new bridge to begin by summer of 2014 and on-site construction to begin early in 2015. The duration of the detour required has not yet been determined but is not anticipated to be longer than 16 weeks. More details will be known when the design portion of the project is completed and a project plan is in place. The Agency wants to assure the community that holding construction outside of the December shopping period and before the summer tourism season is a priority for Parks Canada.
Q: The Hastings project has been delayed three times. Can the community have confidence in the targeted completion date?
This project is a priority for Parks Canada and funds to complete this project have been confirmed. The time risks associated with repairing the existing structure are far greater than replacing the existing span. After extensive analysis it has been decided replacing the Hasting Bridge will be the most effective approach, with the longest life span.
Design, tendering and overall project construction will be managed by Public Works and Government Services Canada with Parks Canada as the project lead.
Q: Is the bridge still safe for use?
While Parks Canada regrets the impact that this delay and the ongoing load limit reduction has had on the community, public safety remains the primary concern. Inspections and monitoring are in place as part of the Agency’s ongoing asset management program and bridge safety will be ensured.
Q: Arrangements for public access have been discussed and are in the plans, but what about residents who travel by wheelchair or scooter or walker?
Parks Canada will make every effort to facilitate the request for access through the construction site. Feasibility will be determined during the design process and in preparation for the construction phase of the project with the successful contractor.
Q: What is Parks Canada’s commitment to the long term management of canal assets?
As part of our commitment to the long-term management of canal assets and infrastructure, Parks Canada recently established the Office of the Executive Director for Waterways to oversee waterways in Ontario and Quebec. This office has dedicated capacity to work on long-term capital planning and major projects such as the Hastings Swing Bridge replacement. Parks Canada has also established a centralized approach to investment planning and funds are allocated to the highest priorities based on risk and urgency.
Since 2006 the Government of Canada has invested 240 million in the operation and maintenance of these waterways. This year, Parks Canada will be making the largest investment in canal infrastructure in a decade. The Agency will be investing in our heritage canals in Ontario and Quebec to support services, on-going maintenance and important infrastructure improvements. Waterways are getting the largest capital investment of any Parks Canada operated Park or site.
Q: What is the status of the Brighton Road Swing Bridge project, also in this federal riding?
By committing to replace the Brighton Road Swing Bridge, Parks Canada will invest in public infrastructure, improve public safety, and ensure a bridge that will last more than 50 years. Parks Canada is currently in communications with the mayors and public works staff of Quinte West, Prince Edward County and Brighton on the subject of the replacement the Brighton Road Swing Bridge. Further details and anticipated construction timelines will be available later this fall.
Q: How does investing millions in canal infrastructure support local communities along the canal?
The federal government is supporting local communities along the waterways through infrastructure investment, subsidization of services to boaters and visitors and payments in lieu of taxes to municipalities along the waterways.
The investments in asset maintenance and inspections are to ensure the safety of Canadians and our employees, and for the protection and conservation of our heritage resources.
Q: What exactly is Parks Canada’s role with regards to managing dams and other infrastructure along the canals in Canada?
Parks Canada manages $5.64B in waterways infrastructure in Ontario and Quebec on behalf of Canadians and in support of navigation and water management along the canals.