DTI releases some info on Sackville bridge damage, but withholds details on repairs & costs

Concrete barriers have blocked one lane of Sackville’s Main St. bridge since one of its steel girders was damaged by a truck heading westbound on the TransCanada highway on Feb. 3rd

The provincial department of transportation and infrastructure (DTI) has released more information about damage to the Sackville bridge that crosses over the TransCanada highway near the McDonald’s intersection, but there is no indication about what repairs will be needed, when they will be undertaken or how much they might cost.

On Friday, DTI released photos of, and e-mails about, the damage to the 62-metre-long bridge in response to a  Warktimes request under New Brunswick’s Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (RTIPPA), but information about repair options was not included.

A letter signed by DTI Minister Jeff Carr received yesterday, but dated April 26th, says that under RTIPPA, project considerations and/or recommendations may be withheld if disclosure of such information could reveal “advice, opinions, proposals or recommendations developed by or for the public body [DTI] or a Minister of the Crown.”

The released documents include a darkened photo of a flat-bed truck that had been hauling what is described as an “over height load” that struck the underside of the bridge at 1:53 p.m. on Friday, February 3rd.

A February 7th e-mail to MLA Megan Mitton from Serge Gagnon, executive director of engineering services & chief engineer at DTI, says the operator of the truck had an “over height permit and should have been able to clear the structure.

“DTI is following up to determine height of load, clearance on bridge, etc…We are routing the truck that struck the bridge to the Salisbury scales where the height will be measured…

“At this time I do not have a timeline for repairs. This will become clear in the coming days/week once we start evaluating options and develop a repair strategy for this structure.”

The e-mails show that DTI hired Valron, a Moncton-based consulting firm to conduct an inspection and recommend options for repairs. (Valron had inspected the bridge the previous summer.)

In the meantime, DTI placed concrete barriers on the bridge to protect the damaged underside girder from traffic passing above it.

DTI photo shows crew inspecting damage shortly after the accident

Another internal DTI e-mail (unsigned) says a Request for Proposals will be prepared for evaluation of repair options, but the details are redacted.

The e-mail addresses Bruce Boyd, DTI’s senior bridge maintenance engineer about completing the repairs needed so that the concrete barriers can be removed:

“Bruce – We should get this work done this summer and not let the restriction go into the fall/winter.”

To read Minister Carr’s letter, click here.

To view the DTI e-mails and photos, click here.

For previous coverage, click here.

This entry was posted in Town of Sackville, Town of Tantramar and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to DTI releases some info on Sackville bridge damage, but withholds details on repairs & costs

  1. Percy Best says:

    I can only imagine what the results of such a collision would have been had the proposed pedestrian elevated pedway been constructed by now and the over height load collided with it. It has only been a couple of years since the large storage tank, being transported east by a tractor trailer, struck the overpass before Exit 513 at Aulac, Highway overpasses usually survive such an impact but with considerable damage. A pedway would probably be destroyed and end up down on the TCH with oncoming traffic. One has to be careful what they wish for.

    • Erica Butler says:

      Interesting point, but it’s not like pedestrian overpasses aren’t commonplace elsewhere in the Transcanada. There’s loads in Quebec.

      • Percy Best says:

        I searched and couldn’t find any pedways over the TCH in any of the 4 Atlantic Provinces. Maybe you know of one Erica. Lower speed limit downtown areas certainly have a few of course. I am looking forward to the day that one is constructed over Main Street, between Campbell Hall and the Avard Dixon Building. It would seem a perfect location being as most Mt A students have to walk downhill on both sides to get to the crosswalk. I so wish it could be prioritized before a catastrophe happens. . .

      • Tantramarobserver says:

        Citing the fact that there are none in the less developed and most economically deprived part of the country does not equate it being unachievable or unreasonable. There are many things that we don’t have in the maritimes that we could benefit from that are perfectly within our reach.

        But, alas, Percy has spoken. We all know that he’s the voice of reason in our town. *eyerolls*

  2. Terry says:

    Bruce, you’ve done like 4 stories about this overpass, with little to no engagement from readers. We don’t care. There are important stories in our region that need to be covered…this is not one of them.

    • brucewark says:

      Thanks for your comment Terry, but actually, I’ve posted only two stories (not four) including this one. The first story was triggered by Councillor Michael Tower’s request for information from Town Engineer Jon Eppell on the extent of the damage to the Main St. bridge and when DTI would be fixing it. Eppell responded that he thought the bridge was safe and while he speculated on possible fixes, he said it was up to DTI to deal with it. As for when repairs would be made, he did not seem to know.

      So, I wrote a preliminary story and promised at the end of it to relay any further info as it became available. When the media person at DTI did not respond to my repeated requests for information, I filed a Right to Information request. After all, this is basic information that would be routinely available in Nova Scotia and Ontario, two other provinces where I have decades of experience writing about provincial issues.

      DTI was not able to come up with any information within the 30-business-day limit set forth in the RTIPPA legislation. (It seems that Minister Carr was too busy to sign off on the files, so there were additional delays.) As soon as I received the little information I could get, I posted my second, follow-up story.

      While you may not be interested in the damage to this heavily used bridge, many other readers were, judging by the number of views or “hits” that my Jetpack app recorded on both of these stories. (I pay for a premium WordPress account that enables me to measure interest on the stories I post.) Maybe I could see your point if you were a paying subscriber and thought I was posting valueless stories, but the stories I post are free and you are equally free not to read them.

  3. Wayne Feindel Puppet of the People says:

    .. the bits snd pieces of news that don’t seem that important but reveal a bigger picture. First of all ;that a citizen has to go to the RTIPPA to obtain basic no-name information. Secondly, that there is some information that is redacted Thirdly, I now know why it took four years on Anglophone East School Board to get information on why parents were being blocked from even the ombuds. This all points to a ‘braindead” Province. Clearly then , almost every broken aspect of essential services are A Bridge To Far.. Thanks to the third pillar of a democracy The Newwark Times gives us a peek into the obfuscation of the provincial oligarchy Minster Carr you say? Funny how one little thing opens up a whole kettle of fish.

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