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New Westminster's Bailey Bridge shut for safety check

Nothing significant was found when safety experts checked the Braid Street bridge during a four-hour shutdown Sunday evening.

The one-lane Bailey bridge connecting New Westminster’s Braid Industrial Park to Coquitlam’s United Boulevard was closed for almost two weeks in February after it was discovered during a structural assessment that two of its trusses had been split.

After it was reopened, the bridge’s maximum weight load was reduced from 48-tonnes to 15, effectively eliminating heavy-truck traffic.

On Sunday, consultants from Associated Engineering closed the bridge from 5 to 9 p.m., to see how it was holding up.

“I haven’t seen the results yet, but they didn’t see anything significant otherwise we would have had to take action,” said Roger Emanuels, the city’s manager of design and construction, on Monday.

He added the consultants will be doing safety checks at four-month intervals to ensure there is no further deterioration in the structure.

Emanuels said city council is still looking at a single-lane replacement, although a bit wider to accommodate pedestrians, but Coquitlam, which pays half the maintenance costs, wants a two-lane structure.

The city, he added, has also met with members of the Braid Industrial Park Association which has suggested United be connected through the former Canfor property, now owned by Port Metro Vancouver, with traffic reconnecting to Braid via a two-lane bridge already spanning the Brunette River on Canfor Avenue.

Emanuels said along with having to purchase the property from the port authority, there is also the long-range issue of how much added traffic using that option will cause for the industrial park and the already highly congested area.

“What the two lanes doesn’t solve is the backup off the intersection of Braid and Brunette and the trains going through,” said Emanuels.

He added there will be more dialogue between the city and local industry this month.

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