Inspection work to restrict bridge traffic Monday

Paul Mayne/Western News

University Drive Bridge

Pedestrians crossing University Drive Bridge will be restricted to one sidewalk on Monday only, while detailed inspection of the 95-year-old structure takes place.

The interruptions will take place between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., when one side of the bridge will be closed to accommodate a 62-foot crane necessary to assess bridge bearings, said Elizabeth Krische, Western’s Associate Vice-President in charge of Facilities Management.

The bridge closed to motorists Oct. 18 after visual and drone assessments done by a structural engineering firm determined bearings on the bridge needed to be replaced. The partial closing scheduled for Monday applies only for that day, for the 12-hour period, Krische explained, while the closure to motorists is still expected to last several months.

“There will be a large bridge master – a 62-foot crane that looks like a cherrypicker – that will sit on the bridge and reach over and under so (engineers) can do an inspection of the bearing points on the underside of the bridge,” she said.

One sidewalk of the bridge will be open at all times, alternating between the north and south sides, as the crane moves from inspecting one end to inspecting the other.

“It’s perfectly safe to be on the bridge on the side that is open,” Krische stressed. “It is less of a load than we would have had if busses were on it.”

There will be signage posted indicating which side pedestrians can access.

The only stipulation is for cyclists, she added, noting they will not have sufficient space to ride on the narrow sidewalks on the bridge. Cyclists crossing the bridge Monday will have to dismount and walk their bikes across along with pedestrians.

“The previous inspection was done by drones and visuals, with ladders. This inspection will allow engineers to get a better look and finalize the (repair) designs. We should have the final designs in the coming weeks, then we will go to the contractor to do the repair work. This inspection is to finish the design piece,” said Krische.

“Everyone will have to share that sidewalk Monday.”