Fix coming for 'ski-slope' bridge

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Thrill-seekers who like to catch some air while driving over the County Road 44 CP Rail overpass near here will soon lose their source of excitement.

A $2.7-million rebuild of the overpass will take place this summer, and includes replacing the too-steep approaches on either side of the structure with a more gradual grade.

United Counties public works director Les Shepherd said the “ski-slope” approaches will be built up with 30,000 cubic meters of fill, a component of the project that’s expected to cost about $400,000.

The thrill of approaching the crest of the overpass, heightened by an inability to see oncoming traffic on the opposite side, also has a tragic side. Accidents are not uncommon on the bridge and in 2005 a married Gatineau couple lost their lives after going airborne in a Corvette and slicing through a telephone pole before the vehicle crash-landed upside down.

The counties' public works committee put the final touches in place Thursday for the project to proceed by approving the purchase of two small parcels of land at a total cost of $4,250 to allow for the road to be widened on the approaches.

The purchase, which still must be approved by full council, will allow for the project to proceed this summer.

Shepherd said the work will take about five months and should be completed before the cold weather arrives. It is not clear when work will begin but he expects it will be this summer.

The work will also require County Road 44 to be closed to traffic in both directions for an undetermined amount of time, but not for the entire duration of the project, he added.

The deck work on top of the overpass, in particular, cannot be completed in cold weather, he noted.

Councillors, meanwhile, were pleased with Shepherd's confirmation that Canadian Pacific will pay 85 per cent of the costs, leaving the counties with a bill of almost $500,000, which includes inspection and engineering costs.

Prior to negotiations with CP Rail, the initial costs “looked like a disaster,” said Augusta Reeve Mel Campbell.

Warden Ron Holman said this was an instance where the involvement of a lawyer to research documents paid off when it was determined CP was responsible for picking up the lion's share of maintenance costs.




United Counties' public works director Les Shepherd said tenders closed on Wednesday for the rebuild of the CP Rail overpass on County Road 44, south of Kemptville.

Shepherd said the low bid of $2.75 million came from Dalcom Enterprises, which has experience working with CP and submitted references to support their bid.

A second bid from Tackaberry Construction came in at $2.85 million and provides reassurance the Dalcom bid is not out of line, he said.

Two other bids came in at more than $4 million.

Shepherd will bring back a recommendation to council to support the Dalcom bid.



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