Nova Scotia

Railway cut bridge repairs to begin

Repairs on one of several deteriorating railway cut bridges in Halifax will begin this summer.
After years of talks between CN Rail and the city of Halifax, work will begin on one of the city's deteriorating railway cut bridges. ((CBC))
Repairs on one of several deteriorating railway cut bridges in Halifax will begin this summer.

The work will get underway after years of talks between the city and CN Rail.

There are now weight restrictions on five of the railway cut bridges in the city because of their crumbling condition.

Despite that, testy negotiations have dragged on for years over who should pay.

"We're responsible for everything up top," said Coun. Sue Uteck. "They're [CN Rail] responsible for everything underneath."

Uteck said repairs to the South Street overpass will begin this summer, but acknowledged the work will cause some inconvenience.

Foot traffic over the South Street overpass will be halted.

"There'll be no pedestrian access for the entire project, three to six months," said Uteck. "So you're walking around to get out of your own neighbourhood."

There will always be one lane open for cars to use the overpass while repairs are being carried out. If the city wants pedestrian access, it will have to foot the bill for a temporary bridge that could cost several hundred thousand dollars.

"Obviously we're going to have to have a community meeting and get feedback before deciding to proceed," she said.

Last week, Coun. David Hendsbee brought up the idea of new road tolls to help reduce traffic congestion on the peninsula. He had suggested the best place to put road tolls would be on the eight bridges that span the railway cut on the peninsula.

Hendsbee said if CN Rail was to transfer those ownerships of the bridges to the municipality, or to a transit authority or to the province, tolling could be one way to help pay for the maintenance of the bridges.

Uteck said bridges that need repairs will undergo annual inspections and the ones in the worst condition will be fixed first.