By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Ninety-nine-year-old Thompson Bridge in Trent Hills may be on the endangered list, Northumberland County Manager of Project Engineering Denise Marshall reported at the July county council meeting.
It undergoes inspection every two years, and the most recent one identified deterioration that required some emergency repairs and led a decision to start the wheels in motion to cut its 10-ton load limit in half – measures they hoped would result in at least another two years of service.
Repairs started July 12, Marshall said, and sometimes this very process affords an even closer look at the state of the bridge. That was the case here, when they began disassembling a corner they knew needed some work. But a close-up look showed that it was in worse shape than they’d anticipated.
This work would require a jacking operation – not only an additional cost but also a risk, as they could not be sure that (given its deteriorated condition) the bridge could withstand that kind of work.
Repairs were stopped, and the bridge was restabilized and closed. Meanwhile, an environmental assessment has been done and public comment will be accepted as final recommendations are formulated. During this time, of course, the bridge will remain closed.
Brighton Councillor Brian Ostrander warned of a potential infrastructure deficit. He remarked that this is the second time such a thing has happened in this term of council, recalling the 2020 closure of the Loomis Bridge in his own municipality.