Inspectors eye Pine Point Bridge

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo Inspectors are lowered underneath the Pine Point Bridge over the Hay River on Aug. 17.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Inspectors are lowered underneath the Pine Point Bridge over the Hay River on Aug. 17.

Inspectors have been looking at the Pine Point Bridge in advance of work planned to begin in 2018 to upgrade the structure over the Hay River.

On Aug. 17, they were lowered to the underside of the bridge by a so-called snooper truck. Such trucks can park on a bridge and lower a platform underneath so inspectors can examine a structure.

“The inspection forms part of the pre-engineering assessment, and the snooper truck was used to gain access to the underside of the bridge,” said Ann Kulmatycki, the head of structures with the highways and marine services section of the Department of Transportation.

“Aging bridges of this sort typically require strengthening to bring it up to current standards,” said Kulmatycki. “The inspection results will contribute to the engineers’ determination of where and if additional floor beams or steel plates will be required.”

The Pine Point Bridge was constructed in 1965.

It is scheduled for rehabilitation work starting in the fiscal year 2018-19.

The project is part of a federal/territorial funding package over a six-year period.

When the projects were announced in July, Transportation Minister and Hay River South MLA Wally Schumann said the work on the Pine Point Bridge will take place over two summers and will include repairing the concrete of the piers and abutments, steel strengthening, concrete bridge and deck rehabilitation, replacement of bearings and deck joints, and sandblasting and painting the bridge.

In July, the federal government and the GNWT announced $80.9 million in joint funding to improve accessibility to and from remote communities in the North and to ensure the movement of goods on major trade routes.

Ottawa will provide $60,675,000 through the Small Communities Fund for 13 projects and the GNWT will contribute the remaining $20,225,000.

The Northwest Territories Highway Improvement Initiative includes the rehabilitation of nine bridges, three access roads, and the construction of a four-bay highway maintenance facility in James Creek. The projects are also aimed at repairing aging roads and improving structural capacity of existing infrastructure.