Bridge closure causes concern for Welland residents

The ill-fated Forks Rd. bridge in Welland has been closed for the past several months causing great concern for residents in the community and now, it’s set to be torn down.

Robert Desjardins owns Norm’s Dain City Auto Sales in Welland. Since the bridge was shut down late last year, his business has taken a hit. His used-car business is nearly 50 years old, and is dependent on the traffic travelling across the bridge.

Last night, council voted to tear down the 88-year-old bridge, formerly known as Bridge 18. City Engineer Erik Nickel says the project will cost just over a million dollars.

The bridge was shut down in November for safety reasons. To get to the other side, it takes an extra 10 minutes on an alternative route.

Residents like Sharon Major, who is also co-chair on the Welland Bridge 18 committee says they still have questions about a new bridge.

Ward Six Councillor Bonnie Fokken says she supports the removal and much needed replacement of the bridge. Her counterpart, Jim Larouche agreed today.

The city is asking the provincial and federal government for help. A new bridge is estimated to cost between $13 and $18 million. The contractor has until May 1 to demolish the bridge.


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