Nova Scotia

Macdonald Bridge closure in Halifax explained

After 60 years of faithful service, the deck of the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge is wearing out and needs to be replaced.

Project will take over two years to complete

The cycling and pedestrian lanes on the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge will be removed in 2015, but will reopen in December 2016. (Jennifer Henderson/CBC)

After 60 years of faithful service, the deck of the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge is wearing out and needs to be replaced.

Dubbed "The Big Lift," work will begin on the $150-million project in mid-2015. The suspended span will be removed in 46 sections, each weighing up to 120 tonnes.

According to project officials, it is expected that 94 per cent of the roughly one million manhours of skilled labour on the project will be spent on local crews. As well, 75 per cent of the total spending — including the steel fabrication, paint and traffic control — will go to companies from Nova Scotia.

But what does this mean for bridge users? Here are four facts about the project you need to know:

What does it mean for vehicles?

By August 2015, the bridge will be closed to all vehicles on weeknights, between 7 p.m. and 5:30 a.m.

It will also be closed on 12 weekends over the course of the 18-month redecking project. That part of the work is expected to be complete by 2016.

What does it mean for cyclists and pedestrians?

Cyclists and pedestrians will be the first to lose access on the Macdonald Bridge.

At the end of June 2015, the sidewalk and bike lane will be removed. They are both scheduled to reopen in December 2016.

How will cyclists and pedestrians get across the bridge?

When the bike and walking lanes are removed, Halifax Harbour Bridges will provide three 16-seat shuttle buses that will operate on the Macdonald Bridge to transport passengers during the daytime.

At night, these shuttles will operate on the MacKay Bridge.

When will the project be complete?

The entire project won't be complete until the fall of 2017.

Once the redecking is finished in 2016, the Macdonald Bridge will have to be repaved. New suspender ropes must be put in, the whole bridge must be raised and the cables have to be dehumidified for maintenance.

All of that is expected to take until September 2017.