Its a temporary fix

Raissa Tetanish
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Accident victim calling for shelf life for Bailey bridges

Its a temporary fix

AMHERST - Gregg LeBlanc said his quest has nothing to do with animosity and everything to do with the health and wellbeing of county residents.
LeBlanc, who is still recouperating following a July 4 motorcycle accident, is calling on the government to introduce a bill that would see a shelf life put on Bailey bridges.
"This is about negligence. Bailey bridges would be in better shape if they were upkept, but they aren't, so I'm hoping the province will put a shelf life on them," he said from his home where he's still trying to get his strength and mobility back.
On July 4, LeBlanc was participating in a Biking 4 Bone Marrow event when he travelled across the Bailey bridge in Sand River.
"Even in the RCMP report, it said my wheel went in between two boards on the bridge," he said, noting that two weeks before his accident, another motorcyclist travelling the area complained about the bridge to a local campground operator.
For four months, LeBlanc remained in the hospital in Halifax while going through rehabilitation.
He broke his pelvis, arm and two vertebrae, while a third had pinched his spinal column.
Since then, LeBlanc has gained much of that mobility and movement back. He still has a long way to go, which might include another surgery on his neck to correct leaking spinal fluid.
To help fight his fight, LeBlanc has met with Cumberland North MLA Brian Skabar and said he was left with a positive impression.
"I'm hoping he'll be able to have a bill put in place that gives a shelf life of two years, plus six months grace, on these bridges if the province isn't going to maintain them," he said.
"These bridges are ignored. The bridge I was on is 20 to 25 years old and was only supposed to be temporary."
After returning from meetings in Cape Breton, Skabar said, after meeting with LeBlanc, that he has plans to talk with Transportation Minister Bill Estabrooks about Bailey bridges.
"I will bring it up with Bill Estabrooks to see what he thinks about it. But it seems to me that if the Bailey bridge is going to be installed as temporary but is going to be there for four years or so and after that still is deemed safe for motorists, then maybe putting an artificial shelf life might not be the best use of resources," said Skabar.
Having been released from the hospital Nov. 5, LeBlanc hasn't been able to get back to the bridge in nice weather to check things out for himself.
He says he's hoping it doesn't take the province until the next serious accident, or worse, for them to take action.
After meeting with LeBlanc, Skabar said he also met with Buffy White, area manager with the transportation department, whose response, Skabar said, was predictable.
Skabar said what White had told the Amherst Daily News shortly after LeBlanc's accident in that the department had done an inspection on the bridge and determined it to be appropriate for the utilization it serves.
"But regardless of the fact that it's deemed safe for the traffic it serves, Gregg LeBlanc doesn't feel it is safe for motorcyclists," said Skabar, adding he's not sure if paving is appropriate for the bailey bridge.
LeBlanc is also trying to set up a meeting with Cumberland South MLA Murray Scott on the issue, since the bridge he had his accident on is in Scott's riding. He has yet to reach Scott.

rtetanish@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: RCMP, Amherst Daily News

Geographic location: Sand River, Halifax, Cape Breton

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Recent comments

  • Steve
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Gregg,

    I have traveled that road a number of times and I can recall an incident where I've come upon one of the two Bridges on that road one of the 2x4's making up the bed of the bridge has been broken off and was standing straight up, a real hazard. think some this that could be done is to have signage there indicating that these bridges are dangerous and to be used with extreme caution.
    Best of luck with your recovery.

  • Moriarty
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    ...............

    **LeBlanc is also trying to set up a meeting with Cumberland South MLA Murray Scott on the issue, since the bridge he had his accident on is in Scotts riding. He has yet to reach Scott.**

    ----------------------------------------------

    At least we don't have to ask *where's Murray*?

    Because we know where.

    While people are getting hurt on the roads in his riding, Murray is busy looking after himself and his leadership hopes.

    How about you make sure that you return your phone calls Murray!!!

    See folks, this is what an MLA should really be doing, looking after the individual concerns of constituents. I want Skabar doing this 24/7! Not firing off empty statements every time a shoe drops.

    Good luck to both Gregg and Brian. I hope you get this done, despite the obstruction and distraction of Murray.

  • Blind
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Moriarty, how would you know if LeBlanc has yet to get a hold of Murray?
    I'm not surprised how you missed the point of this article! Time and time again, you have forgotten to think before you type.
    Gregg glad to hear your doing better! Hopefully this article reaches the right people before someone else has a similar accident.

  • Janet
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Gregg:
    Stay safe and get well soon. Also be advised that those roads you were travelling on don't get much attention in the winter time. Very scary.

  • Gregg
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Murry Scott was in touch with me by phone this afternoon and it was a constructive conversation. He plans to meet with me at my home hopfully before Christmas. But if the meeting doesn't happen before then, he's going to meet with me at the first of the New Year.