Nova Scotia

Island resident relieved mainland link restored following bridge collapse

The roughly 30 permanent residents of Durrells Island in eastern Nova Scotia can once again drive onto the mainland now that crews have created a temporary causeway not far from where the island's only bridge collapsed eight days ago.

'It's a lifeline,' says Durells Island resident Theresa Cole

A temporary causeway was built after the bridge that linked Durells Island with the Nova Scotia mainland collapsed July 7. (Submitted by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal)

Theresa Cole no longer needs to use a boat to get groceries, gasoline for her generator or to pick up what she needs at her local pharmacy.

The life-long resident of Durells Island in eastern Nova Scotia can once again drive into nearby Canso thanks to a temporary causeway built this past week to replace the island's only bridge, which collapsed last week.

Cole worried about losing her access to the mainland during the eight days the Guysborough County island, which has roughly two dozen permanent residents, was cut off.

"It's a lifeline," she said Wednesday.

A contractor hired to take down the steel truss structure, called Tittle Bridge, and install a new $1.2-million replacement was ferrying equipment over the span when it collapsed. The person driving the flatbed truck escaped with minor injuries.

Tittle Bridge, a steel truss structure that led to Durell Island near Canso, N.S., collapsed on July 7. (Submitted by Alden MacKenzie)

Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines, who represents the area, said the investigation into what happened has not been completed yet, but he's pleased with how quickly his department has been able to restore the link to the island.

"I'm really, really pleased at the response there, because we now have access secured for the 30 or so residents of the island, a temporary causeway to provide vehicle access there which restores the integrity of the safety systems and just the convenience for the people that live there and work outside," Hines told CBC in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Cole is also happy.

"Not so much because we missed it for that little bit of time that we didn't have it, but for us it feels like you're isolated," she said. "Just that freedom of having that bridge is a big lift for me."

Hines said the collapse was not likely to affect the timeline for a new bridge to be installed.

"The causeway will now facilitate getting the abutments in on the island-side of the bridge," he said. "So we're expecting that it will be business as usual with regard to the installation of the bridge, barring any unforeseen interventions by other departments of government."

The new bridge is expected to be in place by the end ot the summer.

Cole is anxious for it to be installed and ready to use: "Oh, I'd like to see it replaced permanently."

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