Placentia residents told to wait 4 years for new bridge

The mayor of Placentia is relieved that government will replace a crumbling bridge, although he would have liked a faster construction.

Ministers to attend public meeting with anxious residents about crumbling lift bridge

Weight restrictions were put in place at Placentia's lift bridge earlier this week, prohibiting large trucks from crossing it. (CBC)

The mayor of Placentia said Wednesday he is relieved that the Newfoundland and Labrador government will replace the community's crumbling bridge, although he would have liked a faster construction.

Placentia Mayor Bill Hogan says residents should know that the town's lift bridge is safe to use. (CBC )

Government has committed to repairing the 51-year-old lift bridge in the coming months, and will replace it altogether in the next four years.

"We didn't get our ultimate goal, which was an expedient repair and an expedient construction of a new bridge," Mayor Bill Hogan told CBC News, describing a meeting Tuesday night with Transportation Minister Tom Hedderson and Justice Minister Felix Collins, who represents the town in the house of assembly.

Government stunned residents of Placentia on Monday by declaring the bridge too unsafe to handle vehicles weighing more than 13,000 kilograms.

Protesters — sometimes chanting, "Placentia bridge is falling down, falling down" — gathered outside the meeting while Hogan and other councillors met inside with Hedderson and Collins.

'It is going to be done'

Hedderson later met with demonstrators and assured them fixes are coming.

"We have an indication that there's some work that needs to be done on that bridge. It is going to be done, it is going to be carried out," Hedderson told reporters after the meeting.

Both Hedderson and Collins have agreed to meet Thursday night with Placentia residents to explain government's plan.

Hogan said he is pleased that the repairs will be done over the next three months. He said the four-year wait for a new bridge is reasonable.

"We have no choice. It was always going to be a wait of three to four years," said Hogan, adding that he is confident that a long-awaited replacement is coming.

"The bridge is going to be replaced. There's no if, and or buts about that."

Meanwhile, Hogan said worries that that the bridge is not fit to be used are unfounded. 

"There's nothing unsafe about travelling on that bridge … there's no threat or upset to delivering emergency services, whatsoever," he said.