The community of Springville will be connected again, literally, as work to replace the bridge that has been out of service for a couple of years is currently underway.
The bridge connects the community and losing the use of it puts a divider through the rural area, causing some to have to travel an extra 15 minutes out of their way to get home or where they needed to go.
County Councillor Andy Thompson is pleased to see the work being done after so long as he has heard much from those in the area about how the bridge closure has affected their lives.
“They closed it about two and a half years ago,” said Thompson. “They tore (the old bridge) down last week.”
The bridge had been quite old and the bottom had begun eroding away from the green metal one-way bridge that saw the community church on one side and the graveyard on the other.
Thompson believes the bridge is being moved upstream around 20 meters, but other than that it will be in the same location as the former bridge.
“I’ve had a lot of positive response from it,” he said about the work and replacement happening. “It split the community in two.”
He added that the Springville bridge will be one of only 12 bridges being replaced in Nova Scotia this year.
“I just want to thank Minister (Lloyd) Hines and the staff at TIR (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal) for putting this together,” said Thompson. He was happy to see funding go to this project from the provincial government and minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal for investing in the community.
Local contractor Balodis Incorporated is currently preparing the bridge site and is planning to start construction on the new bridge by June 1 and if everything remains on schedule, the new bridge will be completed by October 31 of this year.
Along with the residents who are happy to have the bridge replaced, first responders in the area are pleased to hear the news as well after dealing with significant delays the last couple of years to get to emergencies on the other side of the river.
“It’ll cut a lot of our time down,” said Kevin Stuart, chief of the East River Valley Volunteer Fire Department. “We’re pretty happy this is going on.”
Stuart recalls many times having to go around the detour to get to medical emergencies and even following ambulances that were from out of town to scenes on the other side of the river. Without the local knowledge and only using GPS to get to the destination, he said that many would be told to go to where the bridge was only to have to turn around and detour instead, costing more response time. He also noted that it was a big hit to the surrounding community as well.
“Any small community when you lose something it’s a big thing,” he said.
Stuart shared that the new bridge was welcome news to the fire department as well due to the fact that along with now being a two-lane bridge, it will also have the capacity to allow them to drive their tanker truck over it which they could not do for a number of years before the older bridge shut down.
Construction on the new Springville bridge is currently taking place reconnecting the two sides of the community. (Thompson photo)