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Halifax Harbour Bridges looking into re-decking or replacing MacKay

Halifax Harbour Bridges has put out a tender for a feasibility study on the future of the A. Murray MacKay Bridge. Lee Brown/ The Canadian Press

Halifax Harbour Bridges is weighing its options when it comes to the future of the nearly five-decade-old MacKay Bridge.

The commission put out a tender on Wednesday for a feasibility study on whether to rehabilitate the crossing or replace it entirely.

“We have done some testing on the MacKay Bridge — on the road deck — which indicates the life of the road deck is good for another 15 to 25 years,” said Halifax Harbour Bridges spokesperson, Alison MacDonald.

“The study will look at what our options should be when the time comes that we have to do something.”

READ MORE: Halifax bridges not reaching projected traffic volumes to warrant 3rd crossing

MacDonald says they want engineers to research the possibility and cost of re-decking the MacKay, similar to the current Big Lift project on the Macdonald crossing. The other option would be to build a new structure beside it, then remove the existing bridge.

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“We issued this RFP (request for proposals) to look at what our options are and what the impact of either of those options would be,” said MacDonald.

“This study is really to take a long-term planning view.”

READ MORE: ‘Big Lift’ Macdonald Bridge re-decking delayed to early 2017

Aside from cost, MacDonald says considerations would include structural constraints, space, property ownership and utilities.

The bridge was built in 1970 and is about 15 years newer than the Macdonald crossing.

According to the RFP document, rehabilitating the bridge would extend its life by another 75 years, while replacing it with a new structure could give 100 years of service life.

The tender for the feasibility study on the MacKay Bridge rehabilitation closes on Oct. 5. MacDonald says they hope to have the study completed in the first quarter of 2018.

Big Lift project

MacDonald says there is an average of 32 million crossings on both bridges each year, with about 60 per cent taking place across the MacKay.

Closures during the Big Lift project on the Macdonald, however, has brought more traffic to the MacKay.

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READ MORE: The ‘Big Lift’ Macdonald Bridge project told through photography

The bridge commission expects to finish weekday overnight closures on the Macdonald by late fall of this year.

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