The Sir Ambrose Shea Lift Bridge Replacement Project In Placentia, Newfoundland
In olden times the gut was crossed by using French chaloupes to ferry people across to the other side. Later, with the invention of cars more sophisticated ferries were used as transport. When the American base was set up in nearby Argentia, during the Second World War, a pontoon bridge was built to cross the gut. Unfortunately, the bridge didn’t last long with the rough tides and sea ice in the area. In the 1950’s, a ferry capable of carrying several vehicles and passengers was used to cross the gut. Finally, plans were made in the late 1950’s to construct a bridge across the gut that was capable of lifting up to accommodate vessel traffic, and in 1961 the Sir Ambrose Shea Lift Bridge was opened to the public.
Recently, this historic bridge surpassed its lifespan and has deteriorated to the point where weight restrictions for vehicular traffic were imposed. Temporary repairs to the bridge were carried out in the past year and the entire bridge is slated to be replaced. There have been challenges however in obtaining a contractor to construct the bridge at a reasonable cost.
This paper will highlight the economic advantages of having such a bridge in the region, a description of the project, and the challenges and lessons learned by constructing a bridge in the area.
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