It’s the Big Lift’s last big weekend, but more closures still on deck – Nova Scotia

It’s been a bumpy ride — but work to replace the half-century old span of Halifax’s Macdonald Bridge is nearly complete.

This weekend marks the final routine Saturday-Sunday closure and will allow the final two deck segments to be replaced. The Big Lift involves replacing 46 deck segments.

As has been done for nearly two years, the bridge will be closed until Monday morning at 5:30. 

Though regular weekend closures are coming to an end, spokesperson Alison MacDonald says about five more weekends are needed for finishing work, such as paving. Those weekends will be between April and June.

The bridge will continue to close weekdays from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., Sunday through Thursday. 

Forging on despite bad weather

Despite rainfall warnings issued by Environment Canada, this weekend’s deck replacements will go ahead.

It’s an all-or-nothing weekend because the plan requires the 46th deck segment to be installed before the 45th. If work didn’t finish this weekend, there’d be a gap in the span come Monday morning, said MacDonald.

If the wind or rain becomes hazardous for crews, she said their schedule is flexible enough to allow for bad weather to pass.

For the last part of the redecking phase, the 46th segment has to be installed before the 45th. (Dale Wilson/Halifax Harbour Bridges)

Strong winds and unfavourable work conditions have hindered progress, leading to frustrating delays for weekday commuters and schedule postponements.

The original project timeline had projected redecking done by last fall.

Next phase

With the Big Lift on the home stretch, MacDonald said teams are looking to the next phase of the project.

Once the final decks are installed, their attention will turn to finishing the walkway and bike lanes on either side of the span. Crews will finish welds and install barriers to have them ready in the next four to six weeks.

Sidewalks and bike lanes were originally supposed to reopen by December 2016. The…

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