Nova Scotia

Macdonald Bridge opens after Big Lift delays

Halifax Harbour Bridges the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge has reopened to traffic after Big Lift delays.

Halifax Harbour Bridges says the Macdonald Bridge is open to traffic

The first vehicles cross the Macdonald Bridge after a 3.5 hour delay. This morning the first segment of the Big Lift was successfully fitted into place. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

Halifax Harbour Bridges the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge has reopened to traffic after Big Lift delays.

The Big Lift project was delayed after the contractor had trouble installing a component of the deck which holds it in place called a traction rod.

Alison MacDonald, speaking for HHB, said the first three rods went in without a hitch but the fourth gave the contractor some trouble.   

"We do appreciate everyone's patience on this. It's the first one of this project and it's the most difficult one, there's a learning curve," she said.

The Macdonald bridge was originally expected to reopen at 5.30 this morning.

"We were on track. We had a successful installation of the first deck segment on the Macdonald Bridge and everything was going along smoothly but then at around 4 o'clock this morning we heard that there was going to be a delay," said MacDonald.

"There are numerous steps that have to be taken after the deck segment is installed and it was during one of those final steps that the contractor had a problem."

Halifax Transit said there will be some delays because buses are using the MacKay bridge.

The Big Lift is started Saturday with crews working to replace deck segments on the Macdonald Bridge.  

Around noon, crews lowered a six-metre section of the deck, which weighs 120 tonnes. Guiding it to the ground was expected to take about two hours. 

However, organizers started to run into delays on Saturday and the whole project fell several hours behind. 

Halifax Harbour Bridges said it would take several hours longer than expected to raise the new 130-tonne bridge deck panel from the barge and up to the bridge. 

Crews continued working all Sunday, but still haven't finished their work. 

Forty-six segments of the bridge span will be removed and replaced. Cherubini Metal Works Ltd., a Dartmouth company, is building the new sections.

The project is expected to extend the life of the bridge by 70 years or more.

Crews continue to work on installing the first segment of the Big Lift redecking project. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

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