Bailey bridge closed Sunday for inspection

The Braid Street Bailey bridge that connects New Westminster to Coquitlam's United Boulevard will be closed on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for inspection.

Last year when the bridge underwent a similar inspection for the first time since 2007, engineers discovered splits in two of its trusses. The damage was likely caused by all the heavy truck traffic that regularly uses the bridge said Jim Lowrie, the City of New Westminster's chief engineer.

That discovery and subsequent repairs caused the bridge to be shut down for two weeks. When it reopened, the maximum load limit it was allowed to carry was reduced to 15 tonnes from the manufacturer's recommended limit of 48 tonnes. That eliminated all heavy trucks from using the bridge.

Lowrie said he doesn't expect any nasty surprises during Sunday's inspection, during which crews will also do some minor repairs to planks on the bridge's deck.

"We now look at it on a quarterly basis, get underneath and check things out," said Lowrie. "When we last looked at it in September, it was in good shape."

Last February's closure ignited a row between the cities of Coquitlam and New Westminster as to the bridge's future.

Coquitlam wants a temporary two-lane bridge constructed at a cost of $1.7 million until a permanent overpass can be built while New West says it already has enough traffic problems and any remedy to the Bailey bridge bottleneck has to be done in the context of a regional transportation plan.

On Monday Coquitlam applied to the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development to step into the dispute with binding arbitration.

-with file from Tri-City News


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