LANARK COUNTY – A five-tonne load limit has been imposed and other work carried out on the K&P Trail bridge over the Clyde River to keep it open this winter, the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) says. 

Located roughly halfway between Folger and Clyde Forks, the bridge had new railings and speed limit signs installed through a partnership between owner the MVCA and the Snow Road Snowmobile Club (SRSC.) 

“These works will allow continued snowmobile and ATV use while consultations occur on how to deal with other safety issues at the bridge,” MVCA spokeswoman Shannon Gutoskie said today (Feb. 10).

A fall 2020 study determined the bridge deck and railings did not conform to current standards and should be replaced. The remainder of the structure is generally considered to be in satisfactory condition. 

“We will be conducting a virtual public information session on Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. to discuss options and costs for replacing the decking,” Gutoskie said. 

Authority staff plan to present a preferred approach to the MVCA board of directors in the spring. Until decking repairs occur, the bridge is a “no-go” for vehicles weighing more than five tonnes.

“We were happy to replace the railings to keep it open this winter.” SRSC President Scott Shepperdson said, who spearheaded work carried out by the SRSC. 

However, the bridge does not meet safety standards for other vehicle use, and repair of the decking could come with a hefty price tag. A staff report submitted to the MVCA board of directors in December provided cost estimates ranging from $125,000 to $236,000. 

“The design and cost will be directly tied to how the bridge is used, which is why we want to get user input on the future of the bridge.” Gutoskie said, adding affordability will definitely be an important factor.

The bridge study was carried out as part of the MVCA’s asset renewal program which is projected to invest roughly $10 million to renew water control structures and other infrastructure over the next 10 years. 

“The board has reviewed asset needs and priorities, and endorsed investment in critical assets,” MVCA general manager Sally McIntyre said. “We look forward to discussing options with trail users about this bridge, and about other priorities over the coming years.”

For those unable to attend, the virtual session will be posted online. Comments will be received until March 19.

For more information on the K&P Bridge project click here.

MVCA was established in 1968 by area municipalities to protect and manage shared watershed resources for mutual benefit. Today, the MVCA is governed by a board consisting of 17 members appointed by area municipalities and delivers services in accordance with the Conservation Authorities Act.