The County of Middlesex has engaged Looby Construction Ltd. to begin work on the replacement of the Albert Street bridge over the Sydenham River in Strathroy.
Residents will notice the preparations for the work have begun, with the recent construction of a swallow house in the marsh area along the south side of Albert Street to provide an alternative habit for birds that typically nest under the bridge. In the coming weeks, a staging area will be created for materials and equipment in the parking lot adjacent to the skateboard park. Full construction is expected to begin in June, with bridge closure scheduled for the months of July and August, and completion of the bridge replacement anticipated in October, 2015. During construction, detour routes will be established using existing bridge access points at Caradoc Street and Head Street. More details will follow regarding detour routes closer to construction.
The bridge was built in 1937 with the last major rehabilitation in 1996 consisting of bearing replacement and structural steel reinforcing. The bridge is located on a major county road artery which carries over 5,000 vehicles per day. It is a vital link to the downtown area and is a heavily used pedestrian link due to its location to nearby residential and recreational areas. The existing bridge consists of two through lanes (one east and one west bound) and a sidewalk on the north side. The bridge is becoming a traffic bottleneck on Albert Street, due to a wider road cross section east of it. Structurally, the bridge has extensive rusting and corrosion occurring on the trusses and spalling on the wingwalls.
Given the current age, condition and road width constraints of the existing structure, the County has decided to move forward with a full replacement in 2015. The new bridge will provide a wider structure, and provide additional capacity for vehicular, pedestrian, and cyclist traffic.
Photo: A swallow house has been constructed to accommodate birds currently nesting under the Albert Street bridge.