Nova Scotia

Uteck worries about Halifax CN bridges

A city councillor is worried that bridges in the south end could be dangerous to cars and pedestrians.

A city councillor is worried that bridges in south end Halifax could be dangerous to cars and pedestrians.

Sue Uteck, the south end's councillor, is urging CN to repair seven bridges in the city before they crumble to the ground.

Before any work can begin, the city and CN need to determine who is responsible for what part of maintaining the bridges — something on which they can't agree.

The bridges are nearly a century old.

In 2008, CN put weight restrictions on five bridges.

Uteck said in February that repairs to the South Street overpass were to begin this summer.

Now, Uteck said she is waiting for CN to start work fixing them before something disastrous happens.

Montreal in waiting

"Our negotiations with CN are going nowhere. Meanwhile, is this a Montreal waiting to happen? I'm not sure because we don't know the status of these bridges."

Uteck was referring to the collapse of a 25-tonne concrete beam in Montreal's Ville Marie  tunnel on July 31.

In 2009, CN brought forward a report to Halifax City Hall with a plan to fix the bridges.

"To date nothing has been done," said Uteck. "The bridge work was supposed to start in 2009. We're moving into 2012."

Phil Townsend, HRM's director of infrastructure, said the city currently has an agreement with CN — HRM handles the roads and CN is responsible for the underlying structure.

He admitted there are still unresolved issues and is waiting to hear CN's plan before he can move forward on road work.

"We are still awaiting a defined and complete work plan for the individual bridges and an understanding of what the schedule of timing of these bridges," Townsend told CBC News Monday.

As far as Uteck's concerned, it's all taking too long.

"I want our negotiations to conclude and quickly with CN and the seven bridges coming to be fixed as committed to by CN," said Uteck.

CN told CBC News that the bridges are safe, but just like any other structure, they need ongoing maintenance.

A spokesperson at CN said Monday that they're not working on a timetable for repairs — they are still trying to determine what their individual responsibilities are.

Until they can sort that out, there is no indication that any work will be getting underway on any of the bridges.