West Montrose covered bridge closed for repairs
Published Friday, September 21, 2012 4:13PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 21, 2012 7:41PM EDT
A floor beam that the supports a portion of the bridge deck has failed. As a result the all vehicle and buggy traffic on the West Montrose Bridge is restricted as a safety precaution.
The bridge was constructed in 1881 and needs constant maintance, but age may not be the only factor. Officials say the break is likely due to drivers of heavy vehicles ignoring weight restrictive sign and using the bridge.
The damaged beam was reported by a man kayaking under the bridge last week. The weight limit is three tonnes but nearby residents and region officials say many drivers have disregarded that rule.
Region of Waterloo senior infrastructure engineer Shawn Buckley says "The bridge is posted now, the 3 tonne limit, which if you work out the math that's 6600 pounds but there are vehicels taht are well over that that are using it."
The bridge was open to horse and buggies this morning, but officials say just to be safe, now only pedestrians are allowed to cross.
This closure is not only causing an inconvenience to motorists, but to tourists as well the 'Kissing Bridge' is the last covered bridge in Ontario, and an attraction that brings tourists from around the world.
The European visitors that came to look at the bridge were disappointed when they found out the view was obstructed with large construction signs.
Region official say they are taking precautionary measures to restrict traffic until a repair can be made, which could take up to a couple of weeks. The bridge will remain open for pedestrians.