PORT COLBORNE, Ont. — Truck drivers and fleets are being asked to avoid Bridge 19 (Main St. and Hwy. 3) in Port Colborne, after the bridge was struck by a ship Sept. 3.
The bridge will be out of commission to vehicular traffic through the fall shipping season with repairs set to begin in January.
Prior to the closure of Bridge 19, the Weir Bridge was scheduled to receive rehabilitation. It will be closed from Oct. 13 to about Nov. 27, local officials warn.
There are two other bridges crossing the Welland Canal: Bridge 19A at Mellanby Ave. and Bridge 21 at Clarence St. However, officials note trucks are not allowed on Bridge 21.
All truck traffic on Main St./Hwy. 3 crossing the Welland Canal will not have to travel south on Welland Ave., cross Bridge 19A and continue further south on Mellanby Ave. to Killaly St. West, which will then lead them out of the city.
Officials are warning the Bridge 19A crossing will become extremely busy and backed up, especially when Bridge 21 is raised to allow shipping traffic. Trucks will have to wait up to 30 minutes whenever Bridge 19A is raised for shipping traffic.
“We are working with the Region of Niagara and the Ministry of Transportation to develop an alternate truck route to encourage truck traffic that would have previously travelled along Highway 3, to seek an alternate route. We hope that this will help to relieve some of the congestion that may occur at Bridge 19A,” said Ron Hanson, director of engineering and operations.
Truck traffic from the Peace Bridge will be detoured along the QEW to Netherby Rd. and continue west on Townline Rd./Forkes Rd. to the junction of Hwy. 3 at Regional Rd. 24 in Wainfleet. Truck traffic will also be detoured north on Hwy. 58 and Hwy. 140 to Townline Rd. and Netherby Rd. Trucks travelling east on Hwy. 3 in Wainfleet will be detoured to Forkes Rd./Townline Rd./Netherby Rd.
Signage is currently being installed, officials say.
“We hope that members of the trucking industry will understand that these detours will most likely save them time rather than getting stopped in traffic and having to make difficult turns in the middle of the city,” said Mayor John Maloney, “and we look forward to your cooperation.”