New Brunswick

Jemseg Bridge decommissioning set to start

Work has started on decommissioning the Jemseg Bridge that was closed in May 2015 due to safety concerns.

Contractor now on site to remove end spans of crumbling bridge, create cul-de-sacs for traffic

The Jemseg Bridge was closed in May 2015 due to safety concerns and will now be taken permanently out of service through the removal of the spans on each end. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Work has started on decommissioning the Jemseg Bridge that was closed in May 2015 due to safety concerns.

The spans at each end of the bridge are to be removed and cul-de-sacs constructed at each end of the bridge to allow traffic to turn, says the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Debris netting is to be installed under five of the remaining spans.

The spans being removed do not go over the Jemseg River so there is no risk to boaters, 

The contractor has been on site since mid-August and is expected to be finished by the end of October.

The department has budgeted $540,000 for the work, which was announced in the department's 2016-17 capital budget.

Closure recommended in 2013

In 2013, a government inspector recommended the province consider demolishing the bridge, which was built around 1960.

There is crumbling concrete and exposed rebar under the Jemseg Bridge. (Ed Hunter/CBC)
The inspector reported the bridge had "major deterioration throughout multiple components, and if it is going to remain open to traffic will need a major rehab as soon as possible.

"The bridge should be considered for closure and demolition."

The department closed the bridge 17 months later, on May 22, 2015, one day after a follow-up inspection on the underside of the structure.

The 650-metre long bridge used to be the main Trans-Canada Highway bridge between Fredericton and Moncton. However, the opening of the new four-lane Trans-Canada in 2001 relegated that section of highway to secondary status.