Macdonald Bridge Big Lift weekend work delayed due to wind

The Macdonald Bridge will remain open this weekend as replacing a section of the deck has been delayed due to predictions of high winds this weekend.

Replacing 4th deck section has been delayed until January due to weather forecast

The yellow gantry is being used to lift the new bridge segments into place. Bridge officials say it's too windy to do work scheduled for this weekend. (Shaina Luck/CBC)

Halifax's MacDonald Bridge will be open this weekend, after all.

The fourth section of the deck replacement was supposed to take place between Friday night and Monday morning but the closure has been cancelled.

The change is being blamed on high winds earlier this week and predictions of high winds again this weekend.  

The job has been postponed until the weekend of Jan. 9 because a holiday break had already been scheduled.

In order for this latest segment to be installed, workers have to replace the bolts on the hanging cables first. That has to be done from the blue cable crawlers suspended above the bridge, which cannot be done safely in windy conditions. 

"That work hasn't been able to be done, and as a result of that we're not able to replace the fourth deck segment this weekend," said Alison MacDonald, a spokesperson for Halifax Harbour Bridges.

She said between Sunday night and Wednesday, crews hope to finish the cable work and be ready for the next full weekend of work.

Construction on the Big Lift will take a break over the holidays. There will be no daytime or overnight closures once the bridge opens at 5:30 a.m. on Dec. 24 until 7 p.m. on Jan. 3. 

Bridge officials admitted earlier this week they aren't as far along as they had hoped. The plan to is to replace all 46 deck segments by next fall.

At the current rate, just over half of them would be installed.

"We are anticipating that once we get the fourth [segment] in, and the fifth, that things are going to proceed on a quicker schedule than we've experienced so far," said MacDonald.

She said in time, crews will be able to do a deck replacement in 10.5 hours.

The chief engineer for the project remains optimistic that the process will speed up and the work will be done on time.  


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