DTI mum on Sackville bridge damage & repairs

Photo shows damage to bottom flange of bridge girder above westbound lane of TransCanada Hwy

In spite of repeated requests for information over a three-day period, New Brunswick’s department of transportation and infrastructure (DTI) isn’t saying anything to Warktimes about damage to one of Sackville’s busiest bridges.

The local RCMP detachment has confirmed that at 1:53 p.m. on February 3rd, a transport truck with an “oversized load” struck the underside of the TransCanada Highway overpass on Main Street near Exit 504.

The truck was travelling in the westbound lane toward Moncton when the accident occurred. The Mounties say it sustained damages of more than $1,000 and no charges were laid.

So far, DTI has responded by placing concrete barriers on the west side of the overpass.

‘Perfectly safe’

“From my personal bridge experience, it is perfectly safe for people to continue to use the bridge,” Tantramar Town Engineer Jon Eppell told councillors at their meeting on Monday.

He was responding to a question from Councillor Michael Tower about the extent of the damage and when DTI would be fixing it.

Eppell said DTI had notified the town that a truck had struck the overpass.

“It damaged the bottom flange of one of the girders and has caused some out-of-plane distortion there,” he added.

Image showing bent I-beam on underside of bridge. Photo: Percy Best

Eppell said the damage will need to be repaired so that it doesn’t result in metal fatigue over time.

He added that DTI would develop a “repair methodology” before implementing it.

“Could include heat straightening, not sure at this stage, but that’s DTI’s to deal with,” he said.

Tantramar resident Percy Best, who has done similar work, took several photos of the damage on Friday.

“The top of the bent I-beam on the bridge is fine, but the bottom one is severely mangled as far as offering any tension (or pulling apart) strength and it is quite close to the middle of the span, so it is VERY important that it not be compromised at this point,” he writes in an e-mail to Warktimes.

“That is the part of the beam that will have to be repaired and reinforced.”

Best added he agrees that the beam could be straightened with extreme heat.

“Time will tell how they fix the mess, though,” he writes.

Note: Warktimes will update this story if DTI responds to requests for more information.

Photo shows concrete barriers on west side of highway overpass

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