Margaret Ave. bridge closed indefinitely over structural concerns

Concern over structural integrity has led the city of Kitchener to close the Margaret Avenue rail overpass indefinitely.

Replacing bridge a possibility

The fate of the Margaret Avenue bridge will be determined in the coming months. (Michael McCulloch/CBC)

The Margaret Avenue bridge in Kitchener was closed Thursday morning due to concerns over its structural integrity.

"I ordered the Margaret Avenue bridge to be closed upon receipt of a structural engineers report recommending the city close the bridge," said Barbara Robinson, the city of Kitchener's director of engineering.

Provincial regulations mandate all bridges in Ontario be inspected every two years. In 2012, the city's inspection identified the rail overpass between Victoria Street and Breithaupt Street as one that needed additional investigative work. 

That led to the city calling in AECOM to investigate in January. The consultancy firm released its draft report Thursday.

The report stated that the structural issues were significant enough to warrant the closure of the bridge.

The city has returned the draft report to the consultant complete with clarifications it required. 

Kitchener waits for the firm's second draft.

"Over the next weeks and months we will be developing a plan for future action," said Robinson.

Kitchener has commissioned another engineering consultancy firm, Morrison Hershfield, "in the interest of due diligence" to conduct a peer review of the AECOM report, she said.

The future of the Margaret Avenue bridge remains uncertain, pending recommendations from consultants.

"It's going to depend on what the draft report says. We may be looking at repairing the bridge. We may be looking at replacing the bridge, but we don't have that information today," said Robinson.

There is no timeline on how long the bridge will remain closed. The city has maintained local access to businesses that rely upon the structure.