The Bain bridge rebuild at the Township of Centre Wellington officially reopened for use on Thursday, making it the only bridge rebuild for this year.
“It’s great to be doing another bridge opening; we’re getting used to this which is good news for the citizens of Centre Wellington to be rebuilding bridges,” said Centre Wellington Mayor Kelly Linton.
The new concrete bridge, located on the Fifth Line just south of Belwood Lake, is over a tributary of the Speed River, with a much wider two-lane feature.
The former bridge was built in 1923 and was an important link for area farmers and residents. However, the roadway was limited to five tonne loads in 2016 and the 98-year-old bridge had exceeded its life expectancy and load carrying capacity.
“It’s important for our taxpayers to see what we’re doing with their tax dollars. We’ve rebuilt a bridge here that has been standing since 1923. Also, it’s great for our farmers because as you can see it’s much wider and farming equipment can go by easily,” said Linton.
Centre Wellington has 110 bridges in total with 12 bridges that are currently closed due to structural and public safety concerns.
The township has been doing minor rehabs for bridges throughout the year, but the Bain bridge marks Centre Wellington’s only bridge replacement for the year.
“We’ve been doing minor rehabs for bridges with less fixes throughout the year, but typically, we do one to two major bridge replacements each year. For 2021, the Bain bridge was our only big bridge replacement project,” said Colin Baker, Centre Wellington’s managing director of Infrastructure Services.
In 2015, council approved a 2 per cent dedicated capital levy that addresses bridge infrastructure requirements over the coming years.
“We put in place the 2 per cent bridge rebuilding capital levy back in 2015 and as a result, we’re on track to rebuild 21 bridges in eight years. So, compare that to five bridges in the previous eight years, that’s pretty good,” said Linton.
Local residents who have the same name as the bridge came out to the ribbon cutting ceremony to support the event.
“We never knew that this bridge had the same name as ours. We only found out when I saw the post on Facebook announcing the ribbon cutting ceremony and then I showed it to my husband and I was like to him, ‘look! A bridge in your honour!’” said Leza Bain.
“We went all over town looking for the bridge after reading the announcement on Facebook and when we saw the plaque, we thought it was super cool."
Angelica Babiera, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com