Nova Scotia

Macdonald bridge section in place to begin Big Lift

If all goes well weather-wise, the Big Lift will begin, shutting down the Macdonald bridge from Friday night to Monday morning.

New 130-tonne panel placed on barge and moved under bridge

A deck panel is lifted onto a barge in Halifax Harbour on Wednesday in preparation to be installed on the Angus L. Macdonald bridge. (Rob Short/CBC)

The very first, newly built deck section for Halifax's Angus L. Macdonald Bridge has taken the next step in the Big Lift journey.

It's has been moved onto a barge.

That barge will take the new panel under the bridge so it can be lifted into place.

The deck segment was manufactured by Cherubini Metal Works in Dartmouth. 

"It's about 65 feet by sixty five feet and weighs about 130 tonnes," said Cherubini general manager Steve Ross said.

Finishing touches to the deck section will be added once it is on the barge.

"We're pre-attaching the railings and the cat walks prior to the lift, so that's all going on the barge now," Ross said. 

"We still have two more days to do the finishing touches so we have lots of time."

Weather a big factor

Bridge officials tentatively plan to begin the deck replacement project Friday.

Weather is the big factor.

"Wind is critical with this process." said Alison MacDonald, communication director for Halifax Harbour Bridges.

"They'll monitor that by the minute." 

If the project does begin on schedule, the Macdonald bridge will be closed for the weekend, from Friday night to Monday morning. 

The first four panels will be replaced over future weekends.

After that, workers hope to complete the process overnight.

Removing and lowering an old section of the bridge and replacing it with the new section has only been done once before, on the Lion's Gate Bridge in Vancouver. 

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