On Thursday, December 22nd, 2022, by 11:30 a.m., the Central Bridge in downtown Carleton Place will reopen to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
This much-anticipated announcement comes in large part due to the efforts of Louis W. Bray Construction Staff, all their supporting subcontractors, and the Town’s consultant, R.V. Anderson Associates Ltd. The team assembled by Louis W. Bray has worked through staff shortages, labour strikes, supply chain issues and unforeseen conditions in the existing bridge structure and still hit the targeted opening of December 2022!
“To say projects such as the Central Bridge replacement project have a lot of moving parts is an understatement,” says Josh Sturgess, Site Superintendent from Louis W Bray Construction. “A lot of things had to go right to get to where we are this week. Every project has its own issues, setbacks, and delays but it is the project team’s response to these challenges which can make a great project. The respect shown for our staff during this project has been commendable. We hope that the opening of the Central Bridge which connects the north side, and the south side of Carleton Place will serve as a reminder of teamwork, perseverance, and of course keeping the faith.”
Although there will be further work to complete in the new year such as railings along the retaining walls, and installation of lighting under the bridge, staff at Louis W. Bray Construction are confident these items can be addressed by implementing traffic control and lane reductions for short timeframes.
All parties involved have been extremely appreciative of the patience and support of the residents and Carleton Place business community, in particular the businesses on Bridge Street that have not only been impacted by the bridge replacement but also the reconstruction of Bridge Street this year.
“The replacement of our Central Bridge and reconstruction of Bridge Street has been one of the biggest projects in our Town’s history. I would like to acknowledge everyone involved in making these projects a success. I am thankful for our staff, consultants, working groups and the many construction workers assembled by Louis Bray who had a hand in making this project a reality, but mostly I want to say thank you to our residents and business owners who have been patient and kind to all those mentioned above,” said Toby Randell, Mayor of the Town of Carleton Place.
“You have been asked to endure a year of significant change and sacrifice for the long-term betterment of our community and for that you have all of Council’s sincere gratitude. I know you appreciate the time and effort put into this project with the end result being a main street we and our families can enjoy for decades to come,” added Mayor Randell.
“Council and Town staff have been very cognizant of the impact the Bridge closure has had on the community, but to say that it was only in early 2018 that we became aware of the fact that the Central Bridge needed to be replaced and to be able to have the new bridge reopened to traffic in less than 5 years is a testament to the dedication and hard work of all parties involved,” says Diane Smithson, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Carleton Place.
The Town initiated a Request for Proposal process that ultimately resulted in partnering with R.V. Anderson to commence the planning process in March of 2018.
In August of 2019, The Town was informed that they would be receiving $4,166,500 in combined federal/provincial funding for the replacement of the Town’s Central Bridge under the Rural and Northern funding stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (CIP). This $30 billion infrastructure funding program, focussing on roads and bridges, air and marine infrastructure, provides funding to municipal governments and indigenous communities with a population less than 100,000 of which there are about 500 in Ontario.
Once the detailed design was completed and tender documents were developed by R.V. Anderson, the tender was released and ultimately awarded to Louis W. Bray Construction in March of 2021.
“It has been an honour to work with all of the talented and dedicated individuals on this landmark project for the Town of Carleton Place,” says David O’Sullivan, Project Manager at R.V. Anderson Associates Limited. “From the time we were brought on board in 2018, we have relied on the efforts put forward by countless individuals and stakeholders to get to this milestone. We hope that this new crossing is a meeting place which connects both sides of this wonderful community for generations to come!”
“This project was definitely a career highlight for me and one of the most complex that I got to work on in my time with the Town,” says Dave Young, Project Manager on the Central Bridge Reconstruction Project. “Town Staff received numerous compliments on the efforts of Louis W. Bray’s staff to minimize the impacts on Town businesses and the assistance they have provided to all those affected by construction. I am proud to have been a part of this legacy project for the community.”
The Town and Downtown BIA will be hosting an event in the spring to properly celebrate the completion of this major project and welcome all back to Bridge Street to reconnect with our local businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and construction for the last several years.