Jacking up the bridge and replacing two bridge beams is part of the maintenance and upgrades on Buck Flats Road.
Funded by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOT), Lakes District Maintenance (LDM) fixed Buck Bridge #1 and gravelled and widened Buck Flats Road from Harding Road to 6 km, said Bradley Boyden, District Operations Technician with MOT.
Formula Contractors was contracted by LDM for the bridge work.
They notified residents and closed the road past Buck Bridge #1 last Thursday and Friday from 10 to 4 p.m. to do bridge maintenance work.
“It’s routine maintenance… because of the natural aging of the structure,” said Tyler Patterson, Bridge Project Foreman.
Patterson says two of the horizontal beams under the bridge, called caps, needed replacing, and because of the nature of the bridge – a concrete deck and wooden cap – they had to jack up the bridge to replace the caps.
He says they jack the bridge up an inch, cut the caps loose, excavate the road out on the end and remove the old cap. Then they use the excavator to lift the new beams into place and set the bridge back down.
Patterson says they have an emergency response plan in place during the road closure, where emergency crews contact the flaggers, workers lower the bridge and replace necessary dirt so that the emergency vehicles can cross.
“We can have it back down and ready to cross in ten minutes. By the time the ambulance got here, they could just drive right through,” said Patterson.
He says the plan was worked out with the emergency crews so everyone is prepared if needed.
Ministry technician Boyden said the road improvements, finished last week Friday, were part of routine maintenance activities.
“LDM and the Ministry are constantly assessing and prioritizing maintenance activities across the entire district, so they are always identifying areas for future works.
“We have a multi-year plan and this was identified and prioritized and the work was carried out,” said Boyden.
Asked if the work has anything to do with proposed pipelines, Boyden said not to his knowledge.
“It is being carried out because it was planned and prioritized,” he said.