City bridge repairs begin

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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A crewmember from Allan Construction of Saskatoon chips away at a section of compromised concrete on the Central Avenue bridge (viaduct) that leads up to the Prince Albert Court of Queen’s Bench. 

Chipping out chunks of loose, compromised concrete from the Central Avenue bridge (viaduct), crews have started an extensive repair project.

 

“It’s very tedious work,” manager of capital projects Wes Hicks said, adding that the Central Avenue project is expected to take the crew from Allan Construction of Saskatoon through to the end of July.

Between the Central Avenue viaduct and the Sixth Avenue East viaduct that crews will transition onto afterward, the $1.86 million project is expected to tack on another 30 years’ lifespan to both bridges, Hicks concluded.

“In essence this is really maintenance kind of work,” he explained. “Without doing this kind of work, you shorten the life of your asset … There’s already the wear and tear of water and ice and salt beginning to work its way through.”

Work at the Central Avenue viaduct began on April 15, when an initial assessment of damage was done.

“The following week they started chipping out the bad concrete and cracks, and they’re still in that phase right now,” Hicks said.

“You can see the rebar, so you chip out so you’re at least one inch behind the rebar so when you put new concrete in there it will bond to the rebar and the concrete around it.”

By the time crews pull the form away from the new concrete, “It should be a perfect match to previous,” Hicks said.

There’s already the wear and tear of water and ice and salt beginning to work its way through. Wes Hicks

Built in 1938, the Central Avenue viaduct will understandably take more work than the Sixth Avenue East viaduct, Hicks said.

The elder bridge last saw major repairs in 1992 when its deck was completely refurbished.

When crews are done with the Central Avenue viaduct in July, they’ll transition onto the Sixth Avenue East viaduct, which last saw major repairs in 1987.

Although everything “has to be done by Sept. 30,” Hicks noted that the contractor is confident that things will be done well before this final deadline.

With the Central Avenue viaduct limited to two lanes, Hicks said that there will be some traffic disruption while crews work on the surface concrete work -- particularly while working on the bridge’s intricate guard rails.

The Sixth Avenue East viaduct has four lanes, so although lanes will close sporadically throughout the repair job there’s enough room that traffic will not be disrupted.

Organizations: Allan Construction

Geographic location: Central Avenue, Sixth Avenue East, Saskatoon

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