March 13, 2015 - 1:13 PM
SPENCES BRIDGE – The old Spences Bridge has finally been dismantled after its closure more than a year ago.
Representatives from the Ministry of Transportation had originally agreed to close the bridge off to vehicles but keep it open so foot traffic and bicycles from the neighbouring community could cross the Thompson River.
However, after a final report in 2013, officials determined the bridge was continuing to deteriorate and could not stay open. The bridge was permanently closed in January 2014.
The old bridge also spanned a railway and the Thompson River meaning any corroding pieces falling off the bridge would pose a real threat to rail operations and the environmental health of the river, according to the ministry.
Despite the old Spences Bridge closure, drivers can still use the newer Spences Bridge constructed for the Trans-Canada Highway in the 1960s. The newer bridge adds about four minutes of driving time, but offers a separate foot path for pedestrians.
To recognize the changes to the community, the representatives from the provincial government agreed to add more footpaths leading to the new bridge and plan to resurface part of the highway. There are plans to erect signage recognizing the historical significance of the old bridge.
The old Spences Bridge was constructed by the province in the 1930s. It was built to replace a separate bridge constructed by Thomas Spence – who the town was named after – in the late 1800s.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015