Source: The Standard
Thirty-six million dollars of infrastructure work on the Welland Canal will result in bridges in Port Colborne, Thorold and St. Catharines being closed for extended periods of time this winter.
St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. said the infrastructure renewal includes locks along the eight-lock, 43-kilometre-long waterway between lakes Ontario and Erie.
In a release, it said the ongoing investments ensure the safety and reliability of infrastructure while providing economic benefits to communities and businesses in Niagara.
The seaway said it’s making every effort to stagger these maintenance periods, which will see the bridges closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic, to minimize the impact on the public.
All of the work takes place after the canal closes on Jan. 7.
The late closure is the last in a five-year pilot program to extend the shipping season on the canal. The Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the seaway closes on Jan. 5.
As of Dec. 7, 37 ocean-going vessels were on the seaway above St. Lambert, Que., compared to 44 in 2022. Above Port Weller, there were 23, compared to 20 last year. Above means vessels on lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior from either location.
In Port Colborne, the Mellanby Avenue Bridge will close for painting and repairs Jan. 15 to Feb. 5, while the Clarence Street Bridge closes for counterweight steel cable inspection between Feb. 21 and 28.
St. Catharines’ Glendale Avenue Bridge, one of the links over the canal to Niagara-on-the-Lake, closes four times over the winter as extensive work is carried out on the structure.
The first takes place Jan. 8 and 9 for detailed bridge inspections, followed by electrical control cable upgrades Jan. 16 to 18.
Counterweight steel cable inspection on the structure takes place between Feb. 14 and 22 and will be followed by bridge deck re-paving March 4 to 13.
At the Carlton Street Bridge, abutment repairs will span one month, and see the bridge closed Jan. 15 to Feb. 16
The Allanburg Bridge on Regional Road 20 in Thorold closes for electrical control panel upgrades on Jan. 17, and that work is followed by electrical control cable upgrades, and counterweight steel cable inspection between Feb. 7 and 15.
Counterweights on the lift bridges — Clarence Street, Glendale Avenue and Allanburg — are the large concrete blocks on both sides, which move up and down via steel cables.
The jackknife bridges, Mellanby Avenue and Carlton Street, feature a single concrete counterweight on one end of the structure, which, when raised, is held off the ground by spring. There are two other vehicular jackknife bridges on the canal, at Lakeshore Road in St. Catharines and Main Street in Port Colborne.
A jackknife bridge is also used for rail transit, south of the Glendale Avenue Bridge.
The bridge at Queenston Street has counterweights under the structure, and the bridge splits in the middle as both sides raise straight up to allow vessels to pass by.
Three tunnels pass under the canal — Thorold Tunnel, and Main Street and Townline tunnels in Welland.
The seaway’s release said detour routes will be posted, and timelines are subject to change due to weather and other considerations.