|https://www.flickr.com/photos/dforbes/118822735/ taken 2006|
Let's start with a little history, taken from a Letter to the Editor by Brian Gorrill, published in the St. Thomas Times-Journal on March 5, 2009:
Right now we are in Phase 2 which involves presenting the alternative solutions to the problem for public and agency input. And that is why there was a PIC tonight. The next PIC is expected to be held in the Fall of 2015 - Phase 3 - when they will present preliminary recommended design solutions for public and agency input.
Overview of the Project
Stantec Consulting Ltd has been retained by the City of St. Thomas to undertake a Schedule C Municipal Class Environmental Assessment for the Dalewood Drive Bridge. Their task is to determine the feasibility of replacing, removing or rehabilitating the bridge.
The deficiencies of the bridge include safety, structural condition, performance, and applicable design standards.
The alternative solution should limit impact to Dalewood Resevoir, Kettle Creek, and the surrounding ecosystem.
As mentioned near the beginning of this post, the original Dalewood bridge was replaced by a temporary modular bridge supplied by the Ministry of Transportation in 1983. It is a single lane structure. Vehicles must yield in both directions and alternate crossing of the bridge.
There is no accommodation for bicycles or pedestrians. Overall safety is a concern for pedestrian and cyclist usage under current single lane conditions.
Structural Reports in 2014 and 2015 show that elements of the bridge are in urgent need of replacement, particularly the abutments and embankments. The dams only function is to maintain an environmental area. It does not act as flood control.
Does anyone else remember a few years back when Waterworks flooded so high that the water level reached the roof of the pavilions?
Existing Condition - Natural Environment
Dalewood Conservation Area is a candidate warm water fish habitat on both sides of the dam and a candidate significant wildlife habitat.
(The Significant Wildlife Habitat Technical Guide (SWHTG) was developed to support the Provincial Policy Statement and the Natural Heritage Reference Manual and is a more detailed technical manual that provides information on the identification, description and prioritization of significant wildlife habitat. It is a guide that is advisory in nature and intended to be used by ecologists, biologists, environmental planners and others involved in the development of strategies to identify and protect significant wildlife habitat in the municipal planning and renewable energy planning processes.)
Kettle Creek is a candidate significant woodland and the Kettle Creek valley lands are candidate significant wildlife habitat.
Existing Condition - Traffic
Dalewood Drive is a major collector road with a speed limit of 50 km/h with reduced speed of 30 km/h at the bridge. The annual average Daily traffic count is 2000. The current structure is theoretically sufficient except during peak times where delays may occur. Speed bumps are located at each approach to decrease speeds.
I asked the consultants about delays for emergency services if the bridge were not available. Ambulance and fire generally use Burwell Road and Ron McNeil to access the Dalewood area. There could be delays for police.
Bridge Closure Travel Delays
7.6 km = 9 minute delay
6.8 km = 7 minute delay
So here are the five alternatives suggested:
1. Do nothing. This does not address the issue of deterioration of the bridge. No cost.
2. Remove the bridge and don't replace it. This would impact vehicle and pedestrian traffic as well as affecting accessibility to KCCA. Low cost.
3a. Rehabilitate the existing bridge for pedestrian use only. Costs to rehabilitate the bridge is high and would require a significant amount to be spent on maintenance.
3b. Rehabilitate the existing bridge for vehicle use only and modify the dam for pedestrian use. Rehabilitation costs would be high as well as high maintenance costs.
4a. Build a 2 lane bridge for vehicles and pedestrians in the current location. This solution does not effectively address the problems. High capital cost. Low maintenance cost.
4b. Build a combined bridge and dam crossing in the current location. Next question becomes how long will the current dam last. A long term solution would still need to be considered at the end of the dam's life. It does provide the opportunity to reassess a storm water management function for the dam which currently does not serve this function. High capital cost. Low maintenance cost.
4c. Build a new bridge in a new location. The topography is not conducive to this alternative. Roads would have to be realigned and there would be a negative impact on the Kettle Creek Conservation Authority areas.
5. Reconstruct the dam for vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The dam was not constructed for vehicle traffic. The whole dam would need to be redesigned and reconstructed. Dalewood Drive would need to be realigned through KCCA land.
So I've given you a very brief overview of the problem of Dalewood Bridge and some possible solutions presented this afternoon.
The entire presentation is supposed to be online in the next few days.
If you wish to obtain additional information about the study, be included on the study mailing list, or provide input at any point during the study process, you can contact the Project Team members:
Corri Marr, H.B.Sc
Leslie Whiteman, P. Eng.
Special Projects Enginee
City of St. Thomas
Phone 519-631-1680, ext. 4260
Don't you just love the sound the bridge makes as you drive over it? Or does it seem just a little scary to you?