It’s a project that has been on the radar for Campbellford, Ont., for more than 30 years — a second bridge crossing the Trent River.
The environmental assessment (EA) was completed in 2017 and now GHD Limited, the engineering firm designing the bridge, is holding a public consultation period before embarking on finalizing the designs and the construction phase.
The new bridge will span the Trent, connecting Second Street on the east side of the river to Alma Street on the west.
But the bridge intersection at Alma will now feature a roundabout instead of a traffic light, the engineering firm told a virtual public meeting on Tuesday night.
“It’s not just the bridge project, but in order for it to be effective and efficient, it needs to have a good road system for users, not just cars and truck, but cyclists and pedestrians as well to access it,” said Brian Ruck, project manager for GHD. “A roundabout was considered during the EA because of impacts to properties, but we’ve been able to reduce property requirements, but we’ve reduced the size of the bridge. That’s the most significant and most visual change for the project.”
The bridge, which will run north of the existing CN Rail line pillars that are in the Trent, will be two lanes wide complete with a walkway and bike lanes on both sides.
“We’re looking at something called complete streets,” Ruck added. “We’re trying to encourage active transportation, people walking, using scooters or bikes. We need to make it safe and attractive for them.”
On the east side of the bridge, a new laneway is in the current project design to connect Frank Street to Saskatoon Avenue, instead of a cul-de-sac and pathway at the end of Frank.
But Elizabeth and Michael Williams, who live on Frank, told the public meeting, while they’re not against the bridge, they’re not happy with the laneway plan, which would cut through their property.
“We were told that none of our property would be taken over at all,” Elizabeth Williams said. “It’s now a laneway with the bridge. Our big concern is we can view a bridge from our second storey window, and we will have a second traffic laneway below. So we have two lanes of traffic going past the southern side of our house.”
Michael Williams said originally they were presented with a cul-de-sac and sidewalk, not a laneway.
“We don’t need a laneway, we need a sidewalk,” said Michael Williams. “This is a complete 180 to what was present to not just myself and my wife who bought a property, but others who bought properties in here.”
Ruck responded that GHD was open to having another meeting with Frank Street residents to gather their input on the matter further and that certain elements of the design could still be changed.
One of the callers into the public meeting, who identified herself as a resident named Judy, raised concerns on truck traffic and whether this bridge will end up promoting another route for heavy trucks.
“Is it true that this will be a truck bypass route?” she asked.
“This road will be open to all users,” Ruck responded.
“This road network will become part of the county arterial road network,” added Denise Marshall, manager of project engineering for Northumberland County. “There is no intention to sign it as a truck route or a truck bypass route. Trucks can take the existing bridge or this bridge.”
According to timelines by GHD, construction is expected to begin during or just after 2021.
The online public consultation, which is self-directed, is open until Aug. 28 at campbellfordbridge.ca.
Another online and telephone Q&A session is scheduled for Aug. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m.