Margaret Avenue Bridge to remain closed

Here is an update on the Margaret Avenue Bridge provided by the City of Kitchener. It is worth noting that some residents remember construction on the Margaret Avenue bridge around  8 – 10 years ago. This was not a reconstruction of the bridge itself, but merely an upgrade of the side concrete and re-surfacing.

There was some graffiti sprayed this past week and the city has taken it down. We ask everyone to please avoid walking over the bridge because it is not safe. It looks fine, and just a few days ago we drove over it, but it has been closed because it could potentially collapse.  A news article reported that “A bridge with a similar design collapsed without warning in a suburb of Montreal in September 2006, killing five people.”

Kitchener – On June 13, the city’s director of engineering ordered the closure of the Margaret Avenue bridge, based on recommendations in a preliminary report prepared by structural engineers at a local consulting firm. The final report, received June 26, recommended the bridge remain closed and the city proceed with an investigation of the feasibility of repairing or replacing the bridge.
The city owns 122 bridges which are routinely inspected every two years, in accordance with legislation.  Following the routine inspection of the Margaret Avenue bridge, a consulting firm was hired to conduct a further, detailed evaluation.  Given the significance of the recommendation, a peer review of the report was also ordered and the results are expected mid-July.   
“Pedestrian and vehicular safety are paramount, and regular inspections are essential in helping us evaluate the state of all of our bridges,” said Barbara Robinson, Kitchener’s director of engineering.
Robinson noted that the Margaret Avenue bridge was built in 1959, and this specific bridge design is no longer used.
“The supports for this particular bridge design are no longer an acceptable option because, quite simply, there are limitations with them,” she explained.  “Essentially, this bridge could collapse without warning, so closing the bridge is the best – and the only – option.”  Robinson added that over the decades, the bridge has been properly inspected and maintained to legislated standards.
The city provided the railway with the final report and they will be doing their own risk assessment.  The Margaret Avenue bridge will remain closed to vehicles and pedestrians until further notice. 

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