Brantford City Council has unanimously approved a motion for the increased cost for a full repair of the Ava Road Bridge and the full closure of Paris Road between Terrace Hill and Brant Avenue on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.
The extra $3.2 million will bring the total cost to $7.2 million in order to completely rebuild the upper deck and the superstructure while the piers will be staying in place and rehabilitated, leaving citizens of Brantford with an entirely new bridge.
The extra funds will come from as follows: $1,000,000 from the OCIF (Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund) Reserve Fund, $1,980,000 from the Roads and Related Reserve and $220,000 from the Water and Related Reserve Funds.
Councillor John Sless confirmed with Jennifer Elliot, Director of Engineering Services that there was a full traffic impact study done and that an alternate route is in place to help residents get to their destination via cars and on foot.
“It has been brought to my attention that there are possibly hundreds of school kids crossing that bridge either going down to BCI or coming up to St. John’s College daily and then getting home at the end of the day,” he said. “Has there been consideration in how they can safely cross the tracks?”
Elliot confirmed that a review has been done and they are hoping the construction will be done throughout the summer months.
“We are hoping that the majority of the construction period will be occurring during the summer months when schools are closed,” she said. “When schools are back open in September, there will be some alternate routes that they would have to take.”
For students moving north towards St. Johns, an alternate route would be to travel up to Hardy Road to cross the tracks safely, and those traveling south towards BCI could utilize Dufferin Avenue or travel south bound on Paris Road on the sidewalk.
Councillor Sless was concerned that students would opt to cross the train tracks on foot to reach their school and wanted to know if there would be a concerted effort to keep kids from doing so with a physical barrier.
“We are holding a public meeting where we would invite the school districts as well, and we could provide documentation to those school boards that they could publicize out to their staff,” responded Elliot.
Counsellor Sless suggested looking into a physical barrier in order to prevent any students from putting themselves in danger.
“Kids are kids, and they’re going to take the course of least resistance, and the quickest way for them to get where they are, to where they want to go is to jump over the fence, cross the tracks and jump back out again.”
Elliot says that they will talk to their consultant to ensure a proper barrier will be in place to stop the latter from happening.
As far as design goes, Elliot confirmed with Councillor Dan McCreary that in regards to concerns about contract delays due to design and supervision issues, that the contract ensures that the City would not be responsible for any extra costs in regards to the consultant’s own delays and that the consultants and contractors have to have Errors and Omissions Insurance in case any problems occur down the line.The bridge is currently set to finish by the end of 2023 and will need to be expedited moving forward.