Bridge safe for drivers

Raissa Tetanish
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Transportation department says sagging Northport structure to be replaced next year

Bridge safe for drivers

NORTHPORT - The Northport Bridge is still safe for motorists to cross, despite the numerous concerns by residents in the area.
Patricia Jreige, a communications advisor for Nova Scotia's Department of Transportation, wanted to stress that to motorists.
"We've reduced the weight of the bridge to make it safer to drive over," said Jreige.
While the bridge may still be safe to drive over, the department has determined the bridge needs replacing.
"The bridge had a detailed inspection last summer in addition to its regular, annual inspection and it showed the bridge needed to be replaced. I checked with our project engineer and we're currently designing the replacement for the Northport Bridge.
"We're on schedule to replace it in 2010."
Northport resident Betty Gamble took pictures of the bridge earlier this summer that shows the deterioration of the bridge.
"I normally use the bridge quite often - my brother-in-law has a cottage on the other side of the bridge," Gamble said, adding that when she makes trips to Amherst she will travel on Route 366 one way and Route 6 the other.
"But because of the condition of the bridge, I've been trying to use the other route more frequently, especially in the winter because I'm scared of the (bridge's) condition."
Gamble said the bridge at one point had orange cones sticking out of holes in the concrete on the top of the bridge. She said the holes have since been repaired.
"But on the sidewalk there's about a six-inch drop in one portion. The roadway has sort of been patched so there is no sudden drop - it's just kind of wavy with a few bumps."
Driving across the bridge, Gamble said you don't notice the drop as you would walking over it.
"While walking, you have to go very carefully because of the holes in the railing and because of the unevenness of the sidewalk," she said.
Cumberland North MLA Brian Skabar said the bridge was one of the first issues he wanted to raise once he got to office.
"My first campaign visit when I was campaigning was to Northport and that's what the residents talked to me about," he said.
But for now, Gamble will still use an alternate route when feasible.
"And I certainly wouldn't go across that bridge if there were a storm surge at high tide because I wouldn't trust (the bridge). The wooden barriers that sort of protect the steel beams are a mess - they're all shredded from ice and other conditions over the past few years," she said.

Organizations: Department of Transportation

Geographic location: Northport, Nova Scotia, Amherst

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Recent comments

  • Wow
    January 18, 2010 - 11:17

    Someone should set fire or knock a big peice out of this out. Find a way to make sure it gets repaired before xmas..

  • OhMy
    January 18, 2010 - 11:04

    To lb I have lived close to both bridges and although the Springhill Jct. bridge is scary to cross, the Northport one is worse. What's even scarier is looking at it from the angle the picture was taken. Last weekend after tall ships, I stopped and was horrified to know that I had just taken my kids across something that unstable. Small peices of bridge were falling off as cars were crossing. Shirley, I agree, hope the bus does not be the unfortunate vehicle crossingt o have an accident.

  • shirley
    January 18, 2010 - 10:51

    Our bridge here in northport will be
    replaced, right after someone gets hurt,or killed , i only hope it wont be
    the school bus loaded with children. as far as putting weight restrictions on the bridge thats just a laugh,its lined with
    cement barriors from one end right to the other all i can say is ,say a little
    prayer before crossing our northport bridge.

  • lb
    January 18, 2010 - 10:50

    its seen better days ... wonder what a pic of the railway bridge in springhill juntion would look like ??

  • Troy
    January 18, 2010 - 10:38

    It looks like half the homes in Amherst now,,old and decrepped,,,I was just there for a visit and things sure don't look good thats for sure.

  • ellen
    January 18, 2010 - 10:32

    sounds like the run around the gov. gave me on the condition of the port howe bridge. it,s safe! and shortly thereafter a gravel truck went through it.

  • Corkey
    January 18, 2010 - 10:32

    Ms Gamble didn't mention that the orange cones were UPSIDE DOWN in the holes and the bottoms were flush with the road! We did take the Mud Creek road once but it is a longer route and over a dirt road-- not good in an emergency.

  • Marion
    January 18, 2010 - 10:31

    This bridge is a disgrace . Mrs. Gamble is correct in her reluctance to cross something that looks like that. Even in the far north we value our safety . Come on Nova Scotia step up and fix that mess.