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Third Street bridge to be closed starting April 26

With rehabilitation set to begin, the Third Street bridge over the Thames River in downtown Chatham will be closed starting April 26 to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

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With rehabilitation set to begin, the Third Street bridge over the Thames River in downtown Chatham will be closed starting April 26 to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

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It is expected the $14-million project will be completed in the spring of 2022.

Toronto Zenith Contracting Ltd. of Concord, Ont., will perform the work on the four-lane structure, originally built in 1961.

A report to council last month outlined the problems with the aging bridge, including deteriorated steel girders, concrete deck, abutments and concrete piers; and deteriorated and non-code compliant barriers, as well as deteriorated and non-functioning mechanical and electrical equipment that previously allowed the bridge to be opened to allow the passage of larger marine vessels.

Nancy Dudley, a spokesperson for the Historic Downtown Chatham BIA, said the work is badly needed, noting that safety is the priority.

“We have aging infrastructure,” she said on Friday. “You’ve got to roll with it. I think that there’s certainly going to be an impact (due to the closure). … Everyone survived the Keil Street (Parry) bridge being down; we’ll survive the Third Street bridge being down.”

The average annual daily traffic volume on the bridge is 14,000.

A number of repairs conducted over the past few decades have allowed for its continued use. However, public works staff had to close the bridge in the summer of 2018 due to structural steel that had deteriorated.

Repairs were completed that fall and the bridge reopened with a load limit.

This latest rehabilitation, combined with routine maintenance, is expected to provide another 50 years of service life.

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In a release Friday, the municipality stated it’s “committed to working with Toronto Zenith to maintain a safe and orderly work site. All efforts will be made to reduce the impact on the surrounding areas and businesses.

“Construction sites have many potential hazards and extreme caution should be taken by adhering to the safety requirements and to stay outside of the construction zones.”

Detours will be posted to direct traffic around the site, which includes the nearby Lacroix Street and Fifth Street bridges.

The navigational clearance for the Third Street bridge is six metres by 3.5 metres, and efforts will be made to maintain this clearance for safe navigation for the duration of construction.

If there’s an upside to timing of the bridge closure, Dudley said there’s currently less traffic downtown because of the pandemic, adding it’s better to get the work started sooner rather than later.

“I think that would echo the sentiments of a lot of people,” she said.

CKTransit route detours will be posted on the buses, at the terminal and on the website at www.cktransit.ca

For updates on this project, and others within Chatham-Kent, residents can visit www.chatham-kent.ca/constructionprojects.


What the work involves

  • Removing the operator’s house, bridge superstructure, including all existing structural steel members, railing and decking, concrete deck and sidewalks;
  • New steel girders with a cast-in-place concrete deck and sidewalks;
  • Partial reconstruction of the roadway on each side of the bridge;
  • Repairs to the existing concrete abutments, piers and wing-walls;
  • Steel sheet seawall below the bridge along the south side of the Thames River that will eliminate the gap in the seawall to protect against erosion;
  • New concrete decorative light standards on the bridge and new lighting will also be installed below the bridge to increase safety along the sidewalks below; and
  • New LED accent/safety lighting underneath the top railing and on the soffit of the bridge.

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