South Nation bridge reopens

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Traffic is flowing! Motorists throughout the Township and beyond are surely grateful to have the main route around the Village of Chesterville clear once again. The bridge over the South Nation River in the “Chesterville bypass” section of County Road 43 was closed at the end of May so that the bridge could undergo much needed structural rehabilitation. 

Council had decided to close the bridge to vehicle traffic entirely while the work was completed, rather than having one lane open with traffic control for the alternating directions to take turns. This decision was made because it lowered the cost of the rehabilitation, and shortened the amount of time it would take. The work was expected to be completed by October, with the bridge actually being reopened on November 17. This puts the project more or less “on time” compared to some other major local road and bridge work completed recently. 

In the days following the re-opening of the bridge, it was still not yet “business as usual” in the area. The railway crossing at County Road 9 was surrounded by work vehicles, presumably for crossing maintenance. County Road 9 had been used – along with County Road 7 – to provide the approved Counties detour during the construction on the South Nation River bridge. With the detour route passing through town, the speed limit was reduced from 50 km/h to 40 km/h to help ensure the safety of pedestrians and motorists within Village limits with the increased traffic flow. 

When the Times toured around the area on November 20, the speed limit in Chesterville was still posted at 40 km/h, and the County Road 43 bridge was only accepting vehicle traffic in one lane, necessitating a flag person on each side to control traffic. Presumably, the finishing touches were being put on the bridge work, with traffic opened back up as a courtesy to those who have been patiently waiting for the return of their convenient Chesterville bypass for five months. 

The bridge work certainly caused its fair share of drama while being completed. There were complaints that a culvert on Forward Road should have been repaired ahead of time to provide a more suitable detour route. There were concerns that the approved detour route needlessly took traffic out of its way, and crossed the Canadian Pacific Railway twice at grade (in this case, there was little choice, as Counties staff try to only use County Roads in planning official detour routes). There was also a concern that the signage marking the construction and detours was placed needlessly in the middle of County Road 43, therefore forcing vehicles into the oncoming lane when making a local trip into Chesterville. 

Now that the work is finally completed, the complaints and concerns will become nothing but distant memories. Motorists are undoubtedly safer now that the much-needed rehabilitation is done, and we all ought to be grateful that it is “someone else’s job” to plan such work and see it through. 

 

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