Thieves stealing washers, nuts from North Shore bridge guardrails

Sherry Martell
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TATAMAGOUCHE - Petty thieves in Tatamagouche are creating safety concerns by stealing bridge hardware.
For several months, Tatamagouche and Area Trails Association volunteers have been frustrated with thieves stealing trail signage. And while those signs continue to disappear, spokesman Rob Gould said his group is now being plagued by another type of mischievous act that could pose a safety hazard if it
continues.
"They are removing the half-inch, galvanized washers and nuts holding the diagonal braces on the French River bridge guardrails, and also the guardrail at the Patterson Wharf overpass," he said.
Gould said he can't fathom why someone would steal the small bits of hardware, valued at less than 25 cents each. But replacing the fasteners is increasing the workload for volunteers currently undertaking an ambitious trail cleanup project.
About a week ago, the Department of Natural Resources closed the French River bridge because of safety concerns. At least one of the support abutments beneath the 74-metre long span is showing severe damage with a hole worn completely through. An engineer has assessed the structure along with the Patterson Wharf overpass and the Waugh's River bridge at the east end of Tatamagouche.
"He's going to do a report on all three of them but the French River Bridge is the priority," said Gould.
"I don't know if that will stand another winter's ice."
Gould said he hopes to have a report within the next week to share with the Department of Natural Resources, outlining the extent of the damage and recommendations to move forward with repairs as soon as possible.

smartell.news@ns.sympatico.ca

Organizations: Tatamagouche and Area Trails Association, Department of Natural Resources

Geographic location: TATAMAGOUCHE, North Shore, French River

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