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Wednesday Apr. 24 - 2024
Friday Apr. 26 - 2024
Saturday Apr. 27 - 2024
Saturday Apr. 27 - 2024

Municipal Bridge Open House

Special Council meeting – Prefab Bridge Forum

 This Prefab Bridge Builder Forum was an outcome from our Potential Bridge Closure Open House held at the Lions Hall on September 20th.  On behalf of Council, Councillor Flieler & Councillor Valiquette, along with Deputy Clerk Lucas Wales, agreed to co-ordinate a prefab bridge builder forum. The intent of this forum was to have prefab bridge builders present to Council innovative ways to look at bridge construction, especially in light of us looking at some potential bridge closures. 

 After the adoption of our 2024 budget it becomes even more critical that we find alternative cost effective ways to repair and fix our bridges. As it stands our reserves are at an all-time low, we are fast approaching our debit ceiling and neither the federal nor provincial governments are announcing any funding programs to help with small rural infrastructure projects.  Added to our financial dilemma is that we are required to set aside $11.5 million per year for the next 15-20 years to cover future infrastructure costs. This is an insurmountable non achievable financial infrastructure obligation. As I reported, Minister Surma denied each of our fives asks during our delegation at the January ROMA conference. As noted we will continue to look for funds to help address our infrastructure needs.

 Invitations were sent to 14 prefab bridge builders and suppliers. Our OSIM (Ontario Structure Inspection Manual) report was sent with the invitations. Seven expressed an interest in attending. We followed up again last week to seek confirmation and there was no response.

 Bridge builders contacted include:

 

·Sierra Construction group

·The Miller Group

·Bot Construction Group

·Algonquin Bridge

·Acrow

·Atlantic Industries 

·Guardian Bridge Rapid Construction 

·Crawford Dewar

·Northern Mat & Bridge

·Canada Culvert

·South Shoe Contracting

·Iron Bridge 

·Crain Construction 

·Armtec

As you can see only two have accepted our invitation. We welcome Dean Boakye and Darren from Armtec and Tim Lee and Mike from Northern Mat & Bridge. Thank you for coming and we look forward to hearing from you.

 I also welcome those in attendance both here in Council Chambers and via Zoom. Please note that this meeting is considered a regular Council meeting and will operate in accordance with our Council Procedural By-law and only Council can ask questions. I would also like to note that following this meeting some members of Council will be joining our guests on a bridge tour. 

 Also, Councillor Flieler and Public Works Manager Ryan Reid will be attending the Ontario Good Roads Conference in April and will seek out bridge builders and share our OSIM report and discuss opportunities to work together. 

On Wednesday, September 20th the Municipality of Tweed hosted a Bridge Open House. 

Open House Documents 

Quick Fact Sheet

Projected 10 Year Bridge Needs Costs 

2023 Budget Summary

2023 Property Tax Per Capita

2022 OSIM Bridge Inventory & Work Maintenance Required 

2022 OSIM E & W Red Bridges Detail Report and Proposed Detour If needed 

2022 OSIM Ross Bridge Detail Report & Proposed Detour If needed

2022 OSIM Catons Bridge N & S Report & Proposed Detour if needed

2022 OSIM Joe Trudeau Bridge detail report & proposed detour if needed

2022 OSIM Lost Channel Bridge Detail Report & Proposed Detour if needed


Submitted Comments Summary

The following is an overview of the concerns, questions and solutions presented to Council and staff at the meeting, by email or subsequent hand delivered comments.

E&W Red Bridges

Concerns:

  1. Bridges can not handle modern loads such as snowplows, trucks floats etc.
  2. Tractor trailers are going to cause a collapse.
  3. Very old and falling apart.
  4. Losing the history of Tweed.

Solutions:

  1. Preserve the history of these bridges and explore more federal and provincial funding.
  2. Close the bridges to vehicular traffic and keep open for recreational atvs and such. Provides a tourist interest in being able to use these bridges on rides.

Ross Bridge

Concerns:

  1. Busing will become complicated for school children.
  2. Restoring history in Queensborough.
  3. Emergency and ambulance services would take longer to get to people.
  4. Increased traffic to detoured roads would cause an issue.
  5. High population of seniors who need urgent care and only one way in or out could be dangerous.

Solutions:

  1. Review where cuts can be made on capital spending or other places in the Municipality.
  2. Possibly making into a recreational use bridge.
  3. Please refer to the package Terry Mandzy provided with an overview of his engineering and cost proposal. Worried because in the bad weather he would have to travel up two large hills that aren’t plowed regularly in the winter if the bridge was closed.

Lost Channel Bridge

Concerns:

  1. Traffic will be re-routed down Maines Rd which is barely a two lane.
  2. Cost to maintain and fix Maines Rd for increased traffic.
  3. Pumper truck couldn’t access west side of water if a fire were to break out.
  4. Longer detours for those trying to get to the highway.
  5. Emergency vehicles would have to take longer route, residents could die.
  6. Why did the town let the bridge deteriorate with no maintenance?
  7. Taxpayers paying for poor financial planning asset management.
  8. What will happen to all the other bridges?
  9. History being ruined.

Solutions:

  1. Applying for grants from the government.
  2. Replace bridge with large cement culverts and create the road.
  3. Maintain the bridges going forward and not allow dump trucks.
  4. Review other costs such as Council going to expensive conferences on the taxpayers’ dime with no productive outcomes.
  5. Allow bridge to become a walking/running bridge.

 

Caton N & S Bridge

Concerns:

  1. Emergency vehicles having to detour around.
  2. Longer wait time for ambulances.
  3. Why are large trucks allowed to use these bridges?
  4. Who was responsible for the maintenance of the bridges?
  5. Why didn’t Council have a better plan to stop the deteriorating bridges?
  6. Closure would cut off access from Tweedsmuir, Sunsmile and Trillium as a community.
  7. Bus routes would be impacted.
  8. Will the bridge be left to rot?
  9. Will emergency vehicles be able to access Paradise Lane?
  10. Why does the town allow the dump trucks to use the bridges which is causing the structure failure?

Solutions:

  1. Apply for grants.
  2. Repair Bridges.
  3. Use no salt on the bridges.

Residents also provided staff and Council with general concerns that they handed in for review. These concerns coincided with the previously listed. Overall, there was a consensus from residents that the main concern was emergency response time. How can staff and Council guarantee this won’t be affected?

In summary after review of the forms handed back in at the open house the main concerns and solutions are as follows:

Concerns-

  1. 911 emergency response time.
  2. Losing historical heritage in the municipality.
  3. The lack of maintenance on the bridges that led to this.
  4. Residents being segregated from each other.
  5. The unknown of future bridge closures.
  6. The island issue from the Lost Channel and Catons Bridge.
  7. Bussing routes effected.

There were many suggestions brought forward as well. They are as follows;

Solutions-

  1. Rent bridges from companies.
  2. Order speed bumps to help slow down traffic on the bridges.
  3. Regular bridge maintenance. (sweeping and cleaning off salt)
  4. Petition to the government for funds.
  5. Reduce the weights allowed on the bridges.
  6. Raise taxes to match other Municipalities.
  7. Reserve funds?
  8. Get this out into the media for funding support.
  9. Find cheaper alternatives. Prefabs?
  10.  Implement height restriction barriers to stop large vehicles from using the bridges.
  11.  Find cheaper alternatives for allowing the traffic to still cross over.
  12.  Use culverts instead for crossing over.
  13.  Have letters signed for support of more funding from the government.
  14.  Turn these bridges into walking and recreational bridges. Do not close them.

Residents also had questions they felt were not addressed yet.

They are as follows:

Questions-

  1. Why weren’t these bridges a concern years ago to prevent this?
  2. Why was there no regular maintenance to remove the salt and keep the bridges clean to prevent erosion?
  3. What is Councils comprehensive plan going forward to address the other bridges? There is a lack of a coherent plan.
  4. Why do they allow residents to build their homes and then take away the ability to get to them?
  5. What attempts and or applications have been sent to the Province or Federal government?
  6. When a municipal truck damages the bridges, why is there no accountability?
  7. Is the 14-ton limit being looked at for change?

Some packages came with industrial plans and links to the government website for funding. See attached for more information.


FAQS

Why is the Municipality closing bridges?

The Municipality has not yet decided to close any bridges. Our recent Ontario Structure Inspection Manual (OSIM) study reported on in December 2022, identified that several of our bridges require substantial work that cannot be currently supported at the financial level currently expected. Due to this, the Municipality is investigating all options and opportunities.

Why weren’t these bridges a concern years ago to prevent this?

Every two years, the Municipality is required to obtain an OSIM study report identifying the current state of all of our bridges. This report completed identifies which bridges need to be considered priority and which of these bridges just need maintenance. The report also identifies which bridges require load limits. Every two years, the Municipality passes a by-law to update the load limits on our bridges that are identified.

The recent report was showing total repair costs exceeding $27 million. The 2020 OSIM indicated costs exceeding only $23 million with the top two priorities being Joe Allore Bridge and Greatrix Bridge. The Joe Allore Bridge was replaced in 2023 and the Greatrix Bridge was replaced in 2022. The engineering was completed for Greatrix in 2021 and for Joe Allore Bridge in 2022. The 2020 OSIM report was received in December of 2020 and staff and Council immediately put the top two bridges in for budget considerations over the next coming years.

Why has no work been done on bridges in the last few years?

The Municipality attempts to work on or replace a bridge each year as part of the budget consideration. In the last 10 years, the following bridges were completed:

            2014 – Bogart Bridge $855,646.44 (funded 85% from Province and rest from reserves)

            2016 – Black Creek Bridge $51,902.75 (funded from Federal Gas Tax)

            2016 – Lingham Lake Bridge (replaced by Ontario Hydro at no cost to Municipality)

            2017 – Robinson Culverts $33,528.71 (funded from taxation)

            2019 – Rapids Culverts $82,648.87 (funded from reserves)

            2020 – Boundary Bridge (Hawkins Bay) $1,536,501.72 (75% funded from grants and rest reserves)

            2021 – Clements Bridge $23,909.24 (funded from taxation) – 2020 OSIM expected maintenance within 1 year

            2022 – Greatrix Bridge $583,481.51 (funded 14% from grant and rest reserves) – 2020 OSIM Priority #2

            2023 – Joe Allore Bridge, nearing construction completion costs as at Oct 26, 2023 $540,354.87 (budget                            $1,971,600) – funded $100,514 from reserves and rest debt – 2020 OSIM Priority #1

Why was there no regular maintenance to remove the salt and keep the bridges clean to prevent erosion?

In the past, the budget and staffing schedules did not accommodate for sweeping of bridges to clear debris. Starting in 2023, public works staff were able to initiate this process and the plan is to complete every spring sweeping and washing of all bridges. Salt is never applied to bridges in the winter maintenance program run by the Municipality.

Staff are also arranging starting in 2024 of reviewing the OSIM maintenance schedule report and scheduling necessary work over a 2 year period based on budget and scheduling restrictions.

What is Council’s comprehensive plan going forward to address the other bridges?

At this time, Council has not yet made any decisions but will be requesting information from all suggestions provided including presentations. Staff are beginning to work on arranging some of these.

In addition, staff have implemented the new bridge maintenance plan as discussed above by scheduling sweeping and washing of all bridges every spring as well as assessing the OSIM maintenance schedules and identifying which work can be completed each year.

Why do they allow residents to build their homes and then take away the ability to get to them?

The Municipality’s zoning by-law only permits dwellings on properties that have road frontage on either a public or private road, or water frontage on a navigable waterway. No bridges that were discussed would prevent full access to a property with a home even if closed. All bridges being considered have alternate routes available. However, Council has not yet decided to close any bridges.

What attempts and or applications have been sent to the Province or Federal Government?

Past infrastructure funding opportunities the Municipality has applied for over the last 10 years include:

            Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Green Stream 2 – applied in 2021, successful notification in 2022,                project completed 2023 – specific to water projects – funded secondary watermain river crossing to east side of                  village – 40% Federal, 33.33% Provincial, 26.67% Municipal

            Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Green Stream – applied in 2020, successful notification in 2021,                    project completed 2021/2022 – specific to water, sewer, or other environmental projects – funded 3rd lagoon cell –             $1,127,472 Federal, $939,650 Provincial, $3,665,976.38 Municipal

            Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Rural and Northern Stream – applied in 2019, successful notification              in 2019/2020, project completed 2020 – funded Boundary Bridge (Hawkins Bay) - $885,500 Federal, $590,274.30              Provincial, $235,936.69 Municipal

            Connecting Link – applied in 2017, successful notification in 2017, project completed 2018 – specific to assets                    part of Provincial Highway network – funded Victoria Street - $1,470,800

            Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (Application Based) – applied in 2015, project completed 2016 – funded                  Crookston Rd - $1,796,463.73

The Municipality is also planning on submitting a request for a delegation with the Province in January at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference seeking long term committed infrastructure funding support.

When a municipal truck damages the bridges, why is there no accountability?

If municipal staff damage a bridge, the staff complete an assessment of whether the damage appears structural or aesthetic. If the assessment suspects that structural concerns have been identified, then this is reported to our engineers. The engineers then perform an investigation, if required, and if work is required to repair, a report is taken to Council. Aesthetic damages are repaired by staff based on budget and scheduling restrictions.

Is the 14-ton limit being looked at for change?

The bi-annual OSIM inspections provide requirements for bridge limits. The most recent adjustment to limits was completed with By-Law 2022-73 (https://portal.laserfiche.ca/Portal/DocView.aspx?id=16753&repo=r-00015e373396&preview=XMQ4VIF&ref=designer). The OSIM report is scheduled to be completed again in 2024 where bridge limits will again be reassessed and adjusted where needed. Currently, several bridges require limits and include:

            Lost Channel Bridge – 15 metric Tons for vehicles with 3 or more units, 25 metric Tons for vehicles with 2 units,                 and 35 metric Tons for vehicles with a single unit

            Catons Bridges (N & S) – 14 metric Tons for vehicles with 3 or more units

            Rocky Alter Bridge – 12 metric Tons for vehicles with 3 or more units

            Downey Rapids Bridges (N & S) – 14 metric Tons for vehicles with 3 or more units

            Red Bridges (E & W) – 13 metric Tons for vehicles with 3 or more units

            Storing Bridge – 22 metric Tons for vehicles with 3 or more units, 37 metric Tons for vehicles with 2 units, and 54               metric Tons for vehicles with a single unit

            Bradshaw Bridge – 20 metric Tons for vehicles with 3 or more units

            Scotchwoman Bridge – 20 metric Tons for vehicles with 3 or more units, 31 metric Tons for vehicles with 2 units,                  and 44 metric Tons for vehicles with a single unit

            Ross Bridge – 19 metric Tons for vehicles with 3 or more units, 28 metric Tons for vehicles with 2 units, and 39                   metric Tons for vehicles with a single unit

            Queensborough Bridge – 11 metric Tons for vehicles with 3 or more units, 16 metric Tons for vehicles with 2 units,              and 26 metric Tons for vehicles with a single unit

            Joe Allore Bridge (prior to replacement) – 10 metric Tons for vehicles with 3 or more units

            Joe Trudeau Bridge – 10 metric Tons for vehicles with 3 or more units

            Kinlin Bridge – 10 metric Tons for vehicles with 3 or more units

            Dowling Bridge – 10 metric Tons for vehicles with 3 or more units

Note: That the limits on bridges that do not specify single or double units means that the restriction is only on 3 unit or more vehicles (semis with tractors pulling). Therefore, single vehicles such as dump trucks, firetrucks, etc. do not have a weight limit until otherwise stated.

Is there any regular funding sources other than property taxes available to fund bridges and other large infrastructure projects?

At this time, the Municipality receives annual funding from the Province in the Ontario Community Infrastructure Funding (OCIF) in the amount of $381,000. This can be applied only to large infrastructure projects such as bridges, roads, water, or sewer.

The Municipality also has an agreement for the Canada Community-Building Fund (formerly Federal Gas Tax) in the amount of $383,000. This can be applied only to large infrastructure projects such as bridges, roads, water, or sewer.

There are no other regular annual funding sources available. However, the Municipality does monitor grants from both the Province and Federal Government and applies for the grants.

Past decade of projects funded partially or fully from Canada Community-Building Fund:

            2022 – Queensborough Road

            2022 – Vanderwater Road

            2021 – Napanee Road

            2020 – Marlbank Road

            2019 – Sulphide Rd and Spring Street

            2018 – Moneymore, Hogsback, Barry & Bosley Roads

            2017 – Victoria Street N

            2016 – Quin-Mo-Lac Rd & Crookston Rd

            2015 – Old Hungerford and Marlbank Rd

            2014 – Bogart Bridge replacement

            2014 – Rapids Rd, Johnston Rd, Carter Street and preparation of Old Hungerford Rd

Projects funded partially or fully from Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (annual funding only) since 2017 (inception of funding)

            2023 – Pomeroy Ave and McClellan St

            2022 – Queensborough Rd

            2021 – Marlbank Rd

            2020 – Marlbank Rd

            2019 – Sulphide Rd

            2018 – Moneymore Rd, Hogsback Rd, Barry Rd & Bosley Rd

How come the Municipality hasn’t applied for any grants from the Province or Federal Government?

The Municipality monitors all available funding sources from the Province and Federal Government and applies for grants when they are available. Generally, grants are opened for specific project types and therefore applications can only be for infrastructure projects meeting those criteria.

Past infrastructure funding opportunities the Municipality has applied for over the last 10 years include:

            Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Green Stream 2 – applied in 2021, successful notification in 2022,                project completed 2023 – specific to water projects – funded secondary watermain river crossing to east side of                  village – 40% Federal, 33.33% Provincial, 26.67% Municipal

            Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Green Stream – applied in 2020, successful notification in 2021,                    project completed 2021/2022 – specific to water, sewer, or other environmental projects – funded 3rd lagoon cell –             $1,127,472 Federal, $939,650 Provincial, $3,665,976.38 Municipal

            Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Rural and Northern Stream – applied in 2019, successful notification              in 2019/2020, project completed 2020 – funded Boundary Bridge (Hawkins Bay) - $885,500 Federal, $590,274.30             Provincial, $235,936.69 Municipal

            Connecting Link – applied in 2017, successful notification in 2017, project completed 2018 – specific to assets                    part of Provincial Highway network – funded Victoria Street - $1,470,800

            Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (Application Based) – applied in 2015, project completed 2016 – funded                  Crookston Rd - $1,796,463.73