The District of 100 Mile House will post weight limit restrictions on the Horse Lake Bridge after an assessment last fall found certain individual “hollow core” piles may not have sufficient capacity for commercial traffic such as logging trucks.
That assessment, by West Edge Engineering (WEE), found that while the bridge structure is still adequate for community traffic, weight load limits are needed to avoid overloading the two-lane wooden crossing before a new one is built, likely in 2022. The report noted, however, the “occasional logging truck truck traffic would not cause immediate structural failure.”
“We don’t have a lot of choice here, we have to do it,” District CAO Roy Scott said Monday, noting the District has been in touch with both the Ministry of Transportation and its insurers and legal teams about the issue.
“We’ve been made aware of the risk issue and what we’re doing is managing that risk. We can’t ignore the issue once we’ve been made aware of it.”
The District will post signs restricting maximum gross vehicle weights to 13,620 kilograms at both ends of the bridge, facing oncoming traffic. WEE had initially recommended a load restriction of 4,000 kg gross vehicle weight last fall, but revised that number to 13,620 kg maximum and 10,900 kg rear axle load, following another structural analysis of the deteriorating piles in January this year.
The weight limits are expected to prolong the life of the bridge for five years, as long as its structural condition is reviewed every 12 months, according to Yu Kang, WEE’s principal/senior structural engineer. The bridge would still be accessible to all cars but certain vehicles, including logging trucks and one of the District’s fire trucks, would exceed those restrictions.
The move is considered a temporary measure until a new bridge can be built. The District intends to apply for an upcoming Build Canada Infrastructure Fund to replace the bridge, which is estimated to cost around $3 million. If the grant is approved, the rebuild is likely to start in summer of 2022.
The bridge has seen many repairs over the years.
Following an 18-month engineering review of the bridge in 2013-14, the District increased its maintenance frequency of the bridge, primarily the surface structure. The decking was also replaced on two occasions since 2014 at a cost of more than $100,000.
“We’re looking at all options we can to get something with longevity,” Coun. Maureen Pinkney said. “It would be nicer if it was a better road surface.”
Mayor Mitch Campsall raised concerns at council Tuesday night about how the load limits would be enforced. Scott replied that if it “gets out of hand,” the District will enlist the help of the authorities.