Nova Scotia

Macdonald Bridge Big Lift decks need patching after 'premature wear'

Seven of the span's 46 segments have so far been replaced. Once the entire span is complete, a more permanent paving job will be completed.

7 of the span's 46 segments have so far been replaced

Bridge officials still believe the Macdonald Bridge's deck replacement process will meet its deadline of the year's end, even though there have been a number of surprises and delays. (Robert Short/CBC)

A few of the new deck segments on the Macdonald Bridge will need patching this spring and according to project officials, that won't stop the deck replacements on the Big Lift from being completed by the year's end. 

"They are showing premature wear," said Jon Eppel, chief engineer for the Halifax Harbour Bridges. "We are waiting for warmer weather so we can get out there and patch it."

Seven of the span's 46 segments have so far been replaced.

Work 'to pick up some speed'

Bridge officials still believe the deck replacement process will be finished by the end of the year even though there have been a number of surprises and delays.

The eighth segment is expected to be put in place this weekend. It's considered a milestone because it will take the work past the first tower and on to what crews consider the main part of the span.  

"Things will get a bit more predictable for us," Eppel said. "We're expecting we'll be able to pick up some speed."

Eppel said when the Big Lift started it took 60 hours to get the first segment in place. The last segment took 18.  

In order to complete the replacement of a segment during one overnight shift that needs to happen in just over 10 hours.

Night closures into 2017

Even if the all the deck sections are in place on time, there will still be nightly closures of the Macdonald Bridge until September 2017, as other phases of the Big Lift project are completed.   

"We'll be replacing hangars. We'll be adding wrap on the main cable, all those finishing bits," Eppel said. 

 Once the entire span is complete, a more permanent paving job will be done. 

"All of that will ultimately be paved with a 50-millimetre thickness of asphalt," Eppel said.

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