Nova Scotia

Local residents forced to scramble after Guysborough County bridge collapse

A small steel bridge in Guysborough County collapsed Tuesday, sending one person to hospital for observation.

Tittle Bridge, a steel truss bridge which leads to Durells Island near Canso, collapsed Tuesday

Tittle Bridge, a steel truss bridge which leads to Durell Island near Canso, collapsed on Tuesday. (Submitted by Alden MacKenzie)

A small, steel bridge in Guysborough County collapsed Tuesday, sending one person to hospital for observation.

Tittle Bridge, a steel truss bridge which leads to Durells Island near Canso, collapsed when contractors were moving equipment. 

A video shows a truck carrying construction equipment slowly crossing the bridge when the structure suddenly gives way and crashes into the water below.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal said the local fire department is helping island residents on an emergency basis while they work to establish access to the island.

Tom Kavanaugh, chief of the Canso/Hazel Hill Volunteer Fire Department, said he expected a temporary replacement bridge to be in place within 48 hours. In the meantime, he said the 25-30 permanent residents of the island are shuttling back and forth on boats.

"Most of the locals on the island have a small boat themselves or have a family member that has a small vessel," Kavanaugh said.

One person was taken to hospital for observation after the collapse. (Submitted by Alden MacKenzie)

He said no essential services have been disrupted.

"It's just the inconvenience more than anything right now."

The bridge was expected to be replaced this summer by Alva Construction. The company was just beginning its work when the bridge collapsed.

The cause is still being investigated and the Department of Labour and Advanced Education has been notified.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal said the bridge was last inspected in April, and it has a maximum permissible weight of 41,500 kilograms. 

Vernon Pitts, the warden of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, said he believes the truck and its load would have been over the bridge's weight limit.

"For the life of me I don't understand why they would drive the equipment across on the float at the same time. But that call was made by the contractor," Pitts told CBC's Maritime Noon.

Alva Construction has not responded to a request for comment.

Pitts said he thinks engineering inspections should be carried out by third parties, not the province.

"I don't think that's proper. Maybe we should be looking at independent evaluation on these bridges rather than the fox in charge of the chickens. Policing yourself is not the way to do business."

CBC requested an interview with Lloyd Hines, the MLA for the area and the minister of transportation and infrastructure renewal, but a department spokesperson said he could not do one Wednesday.

With files from CBC's Maritime Noon

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