Jacking of southbound lanes on Diefenbaker Bridge expected to begin today

Jason Stockfish
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Prince Albert’s City Manager, Robert Cotterill, has provided a revised schedule of repairs to the Diefenbaker Bridge indicating that progress on the project has moved along smoothly up until now, and, provided everything goes according to plan, all four lanes of traffic will be open by the anticipated date of Dec. 25.

Workers with Graham Construction prepare the Diefenbaker Bridge to be jacked, thereby offering the support needed to open all four lanes of traffic by Christmas Day.

According to the schedule provided to Cotterill by Stantec, the professional consulting firm hired by the city to oversee the project, Bridge Diagnostics Inc. (BDI) arrived at the site late Tuesday to begin preparing instrumentation used in monitoring and testing the loads that the bridge is capable of safely withstanding.

The schedule indicates that such testing will be done on the southbound lanes—where the fractured girder is located—throughout the day today, with a jacking test expected to occur by late afternoon or this evening.

On Thursday, jacking will commence, assuming the steel is ready, and strains and pressures on the southbound lanes will be closely monitored, explains Cotterill.

By Friday, steel which will be used to repair the fracture, will be cut, and BDI will begin setting up the instruments needed to monitor and test the structural integrity of the northbound portion of the bridge.

Over the course of the weekend, BDI will be determining the integrity of the northbound lanes.

On Monday, at a time to be determined by the city, ‘live load’ tests will be conducted on the northbound lanes and, on either Dec. 20 or Dec. 21, ‘live load’ testing will take place on the southbound lanes, explains the schedule provided to Cotterill.

Cotterill noted that the city may have to briefly close the bridge entirely during the live load testing but such a decision will be made in the coming days.

While city officials “are confident that four lanes will be open by Christmas,” and, while “it is (hoped) that (the city) will also be able to make some adjustments to increase the limit to accommodate more heavy truck traffic, (the city) will not be in a position to make that call until later this month,” explained Cotterill.

Jason.Stockfish@Paherald.sk.ca

Organizations: Bridge Diagnostics

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