Nova Scotia

Macdonald Bridge deck panels lowered as Big Lift gets underway

Plans to hoist a new bridge panel section Saturday afternoon were delayed by a few hours.

Plans to hoist a new bridge panel section Saturday afternoon were delayed by a few hours.

The much-anticipated Big Lift started Saturday with crews working to replace deck segments on the Angus L. 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. 

John Eppell, project lead for the Halifax Harbour Bridges, says they planned to move the first segment over a weekend so there would be extra time if something went wrong. 

"We haven't had any incidents. We didn't break anything. On your first segment, that's the key thing," Eppell said. "We are very careful and cautious as we go through doing this."

Shortly before 6 p.m. organizers said it would take several hours longer than expected to raise the new 130-tonne bridge deck panel from the barge. 

Bridge closed until Monday 

Crews will continue working until early Sunday morning putting the finishing touches on the panel, Eppell said. 

The water main and barriers are already installed on the new panel. Both sections are about 20-metres long.

In all, 46 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.

The bridge will remain closed all weekend and re-open Monday morning at 5:30 a.m.


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