Macdonald Bridge repair plan unveiled

People who drive and walk across the Macdonald Bridge have received some new information on the project.

$150M project to begin in 2015 and will take 18 months to complete

Details are now coming out regarding the $150 million project to upgrade the Macdonald Bridge between Dartmouth and Halifax.

The road deck, floor beams, trusses and suspender ropes all need to be replaced.

The project will begin in early 2015 and is expected to take a year and a half to complete. The massive job will see the bridge shut down to traffic between 7 p.m. each evening and re-opening at 5:30 a.m. the next morning.

Most of the questions at an information session Tuesday night focused around foot and bicycle traffic on the bridge. The sidewalk and bike lane need to be removed for the work to begin. Those lanes will be replaced with a 24/7 shuttle service until the work is done.

"We are looking to minimize the disruption as much as possible," said Steve Snyder, General Manager and CEO, Halifax Harbour Bridges. "But let's face it, we shut the Macdonald Bridge down you know on a Monday night at 7 p.m. completely, then people are going to have to drive via the MacKay Bridge to get to Halifax or to Dartmouth. So that will be disruptive but there's not another option unfortunately."

Spans of the bridge will be removed and lowered to a barge below and and new spans lifted into place.

"I think they have some really great ideas," said , Larissa Holman, a Dartmouth resident who regularly walks across the bridge. "I guess my concern is just wondering around how that will actually play out. There's a lot of unknowns and because we haven't seen this before people are just really concerned about how this will actually happen."

The Angus L. Macdonald bridge was opened in 1955 and was named after the former premier who was instrumental in the bridge being built.

A modernization project was undertaken in the late 1990's and completed in 1999 which saw the original 2 lanes and 1 sidewalk and utility corridor expanded to 3 lanes, with the centre lane being reversed to assist with traffic flow during peak periods.