A small island community off the coast of Nova Scotia is cut off from accessing the mainland by road after an ageing steel bridge collapsed on Tuesday.
The community of Durrell’s Island is home to approximately 30 people, but residents can no longer enter Nova Scotia by road after Tittle Bridge plunged into the water, taking a semi-truck carrying heavy equipment with it.
Contractors with Alva Construction had been transporting equipment that would be used to replace the bridge this summer when it collapsed.
Vernon Pitts, Warden of Guysborough County, told Global News on Tuesday that the contractor gambled and took a chance in moving the equipment, suggesting the bridge was never designed to carry that much weight.
“I know full well the contractor exceeded those limitations. You take a tractor trailer with a float and a crane on a float and what would that weigh? That would be over 80 tonnes, I bet,” Pitts said by phone.
“But I am going to be very interested to see what actually happened. Like did it slide off the abutment or did it break one of the girders?”
The province’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal declined an interview on Tuesday, but Global News has confirmed that the Department of Labour is investigating after one worker was taken to hospital for observation.
No one was seriously injured.
The province said the local fire department is providing residents of Durrell’s Island with assistance on an emergency basis until permanent access to the island is reestablished
Pitts confirmed that provincial authorities and the contractor were on site Tuesday evaluating how they’ll clean up and build a temporary bridge.
“We are going to have to get a structure across there to cross eventually, even to replace the existing bridge,” he said.
The Tittle Bridge was built in 1950 and the plan was to build a new bridge this summer before demolishing the old one, work that is partially complete after the events on Tuesday.