Local bridge to be inspected for potential sudden collapse issue

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A bridge in Walkerton will undergo extensive testing this week after it was discovered to be of a design prone to sudden collapse.

Bruce County Council voted to spend up to $25,000 for a detailed condition inspection of the county-owned Durham Street East Bridge, which crosses the Saugeen River on the east side of Walkerton.

Director of Transportation and Environmental Services Miguel Pelletier said a visiting structural engineer noticed the bridge is a T-beam design, the same design as a bridge in Laval, Quebec, which collapsed without warning in 2006.

“We’ve been made aware of this situation, an engineer who was in the area contacted us and told us about this bridge,” said Pelletier. “So immediately, we went and initially looked at this bridge and [the consultant] said yes, this might be a problem.”

Pelletier said the additional funding will be used to get a full picture of the condition of the bridge.

“We need additional level of expertise to evaluate the bridge and additional testing that you can’t get through a visual inspection,” said Pelletier. “Some testing, for example, to test the concrete inside and the steel inside, so you can get a better look at what’s going on.”

The Durham Street East Bridge in Walkerton remains open and Pelletier added had there been any concerns about the integrity of the bridge, it would have been closed immediately or load posted.