Bobcaygeon Swing Bridge - Questions and answers
Q: What does the Bobcaygeon Swing Bridge project entail?
A: The overall project includes rehabilitation of the steel superstructure and the concrete foundations, replacement of mechanical and electrical operating systems, and combining separate hydraulic operating systems for the bridge and lock into one hydraulic power unit. Finally, the steel deck is being replaced with a new wooden deck. A wooden deck is in keeping with the original heritage structure, and will also facilitate the community’s ability to host parades featuring livestock.
Q: How can wheelchairs and scooters cross the canal while the bridge and its pedestrian sidewalk are out of service?
A: Parks Canada instructed the contractor to develop an enhanced crossing option while the swing bridge remains out-of-service. The upper lock gate walkway at the lockstation has been widened to a width of 4ft, with ramps, which accommodate many personal transportation devices. This modification will be removed when the bridge is re-opened to vehicular traffic.
Q: Why have there been construction delays?
A: Parks Canada’s construction projects are considered part of the Agency’s critical services to the public, and the rehabilitation of the Bobcaygeon Swing Bridge has continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in addition to a delay in both the design work and the delivery of hydraulic components due in part to COVID-19 restrictions, some structural parts on the bridge were in worse condition than expected. These factors have resulted in delays to the overall schedule.
Additionally, Parks Canada was recently advised that the Contractor is unable to submit quality control documentation for the fabrication of some key mechanical components. Mechanical components consist of things like the fasteners, wheels, locking pins, and center pivot bearings, which are essential components that allow the bridge to be moved. The quality control documents in question are key to the delivery of the project as they demonstrate that the mechanical components were fabricated in accordance with both the contract and industry standards. The missing or non-compliant documentation is unusual, and raises concerns for the overall quality of the individual components as they relate to the safety and reliability of the rehabilitated bridge. As such, Parks Canada will not allow the installation of these components, and has instructed that they are re-fabricated.
Q: What does missing quality control documentation mean for the re-opening of the bridge?
A: Until recently, Parks Canada was hoping to re-open the bridge to traffic temporarily at the end of July. The re-fabrication of components will take an additional 10-12 weeks; this is completed at an offsite machining shop and can begin during the navigation season. Following the closing of the navigation season in October, the contractor will complete the installation of hydraulic components, as well as completion of electrical work. The bridge is expected to re-open for vehicular traffic in December 2021. A full testing of the swinging operation will take place in the spring, when seasonal temperatures better represent normal operational conditions, and are optimal for the movement of hydraulic fluids. This testing may result in temporary and short closures in spring 2022.
Q: Does Parks Canada have concerns regarding other work on the bridge?
A: No, PCA does not have concerns with regard to the quality of other work that has been or is being completed by the contractor. All other documentation requested under the contract has been received, and quality control measures were and are being adhered to. Onsite quality control for the concrete and structural steel is being undertaken by a third-party engineering design consultant. Hydraulic and electrical equipment are assembled from components that have a certification from an certification agency, such as the Canadian Standard Association (CSA), which simplifies the verification and acceptance of these products. Thorough factory testing of the hydraulic and electrical equipment will be completed prior to the delivery and installation. Our consultant, together with a Parks Canada technician will also be doing inspection of the hydraulic and electrical systems installations.
Q: Why didn’t Parks Canada and the contractor know the condition of the bridge structure before the project was started?
A: It is very commonly the case that the full extent of deterioration of the steel structure isn’t fully known until media blasting (sandblasting) to remove paints and other coatings has occurred, disassembly has begun, and all areas of the bridge can be fully inspected. This is despite being inspected as a part of Parks Canada’s ongoing maintenance program, and being inspected by a third-party consultant who remains onsite as a part of the project.
Q: Will the contractor be held financially responsible for these delays?
A: ght now we are concentrating on completing the project and getting the bridge operational, to the very best standards. Following the project there will be a full accounting of the reasons for delay to the bridge’s opening. Anything that would constitute a breach of contract or financial responsibility for delay will be determined through a formal review process - following the completion of the project, and not before.
Q: There’s no delay for boats associated with this bridge construction. Why does Parks Canada favour the boating traffic?
A: Parks Canada invests significantly to maintain, operate and, when necessary, to replace swing bridges and stationary bridges across Ontario’s Waterways.
Parks Canada assets such as bridges, serve a variety of public needs, for boaters and for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Through-navigation is also an important aspect of the Trent- Severn Waterway’s services, providing economic benefits to communities in the form of tourism and other economic spin-offs associated with the marine industry. Just like during the navigation season itself when Trent-Severn bridges are swung open and closed several times a day to allow for boats, a balance is sought for both road and waterway traffic.
Due to the nature of the ongoing work, the Bobcaygeon Swing Bridge construction project does not impact boat navigation.
Q: Will businesses be compensated for any losses incurred during this closure?
A: Parks Canada operates and maintains infrastructure that's designed to serve the public, and will not offer compensation when these structures require maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement.