Nova Scotia Journal

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Cape Breton bridge shutdown delaying emergency and mail services

Nova Scotia

Key takeaways: 

  • Span connecting Eskasoni and Christmas Island shut after timber support beams crack.
  • Due to the bridge failure, people crossing between the two communities face a long detour. 

A bridge in Benacadie, N.S., between Eskasoni and Christmas Island was shut Wednesday morning after two timber supports underneath the decking broke. 

The municipality said the Christmas Island Volunteer Fire Department treated the bridge on Route 216 around 1 p.m.

Due to the bridge loss, people crossing the two communities will meet a long detour. Some citizens say the bridge closure is not only problematic. It’s also a safety problem.

Rod Farrell is a mail transport in Benacadie. He stays approximately 1.5 kilometers from the bridge and travels daily on his mail route. 

He crossed it twice on the day it was shut. He checked it and realized it was not safe to go over. 

“Anybody that came near the bridge would discover it had to be shut,” he said. 

Farrell told a Department of Public Works employee came and thwarted traffic on both flanks. Engineers later decided it should be closed. 

Read more: Nova Scotia environment minister states now is not the time for carbon tariff

A bridge in Benacadie, N.S., between Eskasoni and Christmas Island was shut Wednesday morning after two timber supports underneath the decking broke

“No one wanted anybody to move through the structurally compromised bridge,” Farrell stated. 

He said the closure would impact mail service in the space. “Fifteen permanent citizens and another four summertime locals will not be getting frequent mail service,” Farrell said. 

Safety matter

While the neighborhood of Eskasoni is not entirely cut off due to the bridge failure, Route 216 is a crucial thruway.

“That’s the access route to drive to the highway when we leave Cape Breton or go to Whycocomagh or Wagmatcook,” stated Chief Leroy Denny of Eskasoni. 

He said it’s not only the bridge that requires repairs.

“The whole street from Christmas Island to Benacadie, it’s a horrendous, treacherous road. For 11 kilometers, that road is hell. They ought to fix it along with the bridge,” Denny said.

Source – CBC News

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