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Province moves forward on $50-million steel bridge program

HALIFAX, N.S. -- Nova Scotia is going to replace about 66 of its aging single-lane steel truss bridges through a fi...

HALIFAX, N.S. — Nova Scotia is going to replace about 66 of its aging single-lane steel truss bridges through a five-year, $50-million replacement program.

“Our steel truss bridge program will enhance the safety of Nova Scotians and set the stage for continued economic growth across the province,” said Michael Baker, Minister of Transportation and Public Works, as he announced the bridge program at the site of the Petite Riviere bridge in Lunenburg Co. “We are building a strong future for Nova Scotians.”

The plan is detailed and structured, he said. The steel truss bridges will be replaced based on condition, traffic flow and operational factors.”

Some of Nova Scotia’s 200 steel truss bridges date back to the 1880s. They remain structurally sound and are maintained and inspected annually. Typically, however, they are single-lane structures, and were not built for today’s traffic needs.

Baker estimates his department will spend about $4 million this year on steel truss bridges, $7 million next year, with the remaining dollars spent equally in the last three years of the program.

Depending on the size of bridge, and the type of water crossing, permits and approvals are needed from regulatory agencies, including the provincial departments of Natural Resources and Environment and Labour, as well federal departments such as Fisheries and Oceans and Environment. Design, approval and construction can take from one to two years.

Baker said the need across the province remains high. “While we’ve increased our spending on roads and bridges, reversing years of cuts, the challenge remains large,” he said. “We won’t be able to build all bridges at once, but we are proceeding on a systematic approach.”

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