Centre Street bridge lower deck closed to repair van damage

The city is asking drivers to avoid the lower deck of the Centre Street bridge after a van got stuck Monday night forcing a closure.

Repairs are ongoing and there is a chance it may be complete before the Wednesday morning rush, according to city officials.

“We’re asking motorists to avoid the area and find an alternate route until the work is complete,” said Sean Somers, with the city's roads department.

The city closed the lower deck of the bridge on Monday evening after a van wedged itself under the deck, damaging some Enmax utility lines.

Somers says it appears the driver ignored the warning system on approaches to the bridge aimed at preventing over-height vehicles from entering the 2.7-metre lower deck.

A Calgary man has been charged with careless driving and fined the maximum amount of $402 and six demerits for taking the truck onto the bridge.

The city upgraded its warning system two years ago so when a large vehicle breaks a beam of light it triggers a sensor and warning signs start to flash, alerting the driver not to go onto the bridge.

Somers says the warning system has cut the number of problems in half, but still about 20 vehicles a year get wedged or damage the bridge — even though the warning system ends with a metal bar hanging over the road that an oversized vehicle would hit.

"If you're failing to hear the menacing crunch of a metal pole going over the top of your vehicle, I'm not sure what else I can recommend," he said.

Doris Kauffman with ENMAX says their crews are assessing if some of the utility lines can be removed, which could slightly raise the clearance on the bridge.

"The lower level actually contains cables that are potentially no longer in use at all any more and we may be able to, depending on what we find in the upper duct, [find] room for us to reroute some of those," she said.

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