No plans to replace 100-year-old bridge: province

The Town of St. George has funded the reinsulation of sewage pipes running below the South Street Bridge, but the province doesn't have any plans to either repair or replace the more than 100-year-old structure itself.

About $55,000 has been spent on the "fairly urgent" work of reinsulating the pipes and installing new hangers to support them, said Jason Gaudet, chief administrative officer of the Town of St. George. He said the work was considered urgent as there was a fear around the pipes freezing this winter due to worn insulation.

The South Street Bridge, which runs over the Magaguadavic River, is more than 100 years old. St. George Mayor John Detorakis previously told the Telegraph-Journal that the provincial bridge was deemed due for replacement in 2015. The province decided to repair it instead, wrapping up work in early 2020, with the goal of these repairs extending the bridge’s life by 10 years.

Detorakis, a former engineer, told the newspaper last year that the repairs were similar to “lipstick on a pig.”

When asked this week about the state of the bridge, Detorakis told the newspaper the town had "spent a significant amount of money for the sewage insulation repair job and a big part of that expense was the installation of staging – staging that is used for the insulation work but also could allow inspection of the structure."

In his email, he also stated that he was not aware of any inspections planned for the bridge by the province while the staging was still up.

In an email, Alycia Bartlett, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, said the South Street Bridge doesn't need structural repairs nor are there plans for its replacement.

Over the course of the last five years, Bartlett said the province has spent more than $1.3 million on construction and maintenance costs associated with the South Street Bridge.

Gaudet said the town's reinsulation of the sewage pipes running underneath the bridge is expected to extend their life for at least 15 more years.

- With files from Marlo Glass

Rhythm Rathi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal