Next Steps in Port Bruce Bridge Collapse

March 13, 2018

CENTRAL ELGIN – At its meeting held on March 13, 2018, Elgin County Council considered a number of items related to the Port Bruce Bridge Collapse. 

At this meeting Council consented to a continued engineering review of the collapsed structure, gave authority to proceed with a demolition contractor, and approved the sourcing of a temporary bridge for an expedited installation.

Warden Marr also took time during the meeting to thank the senior administration for their efforts to bring timely information to County Council for consideration.

Marr commented, “I know that our entire team has worked very diligently on this important community project to ensure that the myriad of considerations for removal, reconstruction and reporting are well researched and their commitment to finding the best solution for this unique challenge is evident in their recommendations”.

Warden Marr also extended sincere thanks to MP Karen Vecchico and MPP Jeff Yurek for their quick assistance with this matter.

“Now that we know more information about the collapse, we can assure the public that this type of bridge design doesn’t exist anywhere else in Elgin County” said Marr. “The safety of our residents is of paramount importance and we remind the public to keep a safe distance away from the bridge structure during the removal and reconstruction efforts.”

Chief Administrative Officer Julie Gonyou thanked Council for their guidance and willingness to expedite this process so that a timely solution can be implemented for the residents of Port Bruce.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Summary
  • Dillon Consulting was retained by Elgin County shortly after the bridge collapse to perform an initial review of the site, determine any immediate safety concerns, begin an investigation into the possible causes of the collapse and provide recommendations for moving forward. 
  • This bridge is a single-load path structure and the anchor rods constitute a primary component of the bridge which means that if the anchor rods fail, a collapse of this nature can happen.
  • Although the initial source of the failure cannot be concluded without further investigation, at this phase, the focus is on anchor rod failure as the most likely cause of the collapse.
  1. Removal of Truck
  • It was brought to County Council’s attention that staff are waiting to review a plan for removal provided by the truck owner’s insurer. There are a number of considerations related to the removal of the truck that range from environmental to logistics.  At this point a timeline for the removal of the truck is not available.
  1. Temporary Bridge
  • Council considered several options for the installation of a temporary bridge. At the conclusion of their discussions, Council agreed that the best of course of action was to proceed with the purchase and installation of a temporary bridge from a private provider.
  • The Township of Malahide has proposed a location and route for the temporary bridge and County Council will be receiving an additional report on this proposed installation site.
  • Council did give consideration to the suggestion that a military bridge could be utilized. However, after numerous discussions with several ministries, it was determined that the County was not eligible for this solution for this circumstance. Military assistance is reserved for situations where access to Fire and EMS services are completely severed for residents.
  • Council also considered rental of a temporary bridge; however, rental costs were similar to that of purchasing a temporary bridge and therefore this option was not contemplated.
  • Once the temporary structure is no longer required in Port Bruce, this bridge will be repurposed and relocated to replace another County single lane bridge to be determined at a future date.
  1. Demolition
  • The County will proceed with planning for the removal of the remnants of the bridge structure within timeframes governed in part by environmental regulations.
  • The County is expediting the demolition to meet timelines surrounding environmental issues including spawning season.  
  1. Timeline
  • A temporary structure could be operational within 2-3 months of project initiation barring any unforeseen circumstances.