#Guelph Niska Bridge to be CLOSED! Please Retweet & Share!


Niska Road bridge to be closed February 28 until further notice

Guelph, Ont., February 13, 2017—The City is closing Niska Road bridge to all traffic—drivers, pedestrians and cyclists—beginning February 28. The City is closing the bridge indefinitely due to safety concerns about the bridge’s condition and the unstable effects high spring water flows and heavy rainfall can have on the bridge’s main support structures (abutments).

We’ve been able to prolong the life of bridge by completing various repairs since a 2013 report indicated the bridge was failing,” noted Kealy Dedman, City Engineer. “At this point however, the condition of the abutments combined with coming spring and summer river flows pose too big a risk for us to keep the bridge open.

Pedestrians and cyclists are at as high a risk as drivers because the nature of the deterioration is structural. High or fast flowing water can further damage or deteriorate the bridge’s support structures.

A 2013 report from an external engineering consultant indicated that the bridge was nearing the end of its useful life and would need rehabilitation or replacement within three to five years. In 2016 the City increased external engineering consultant inspections to twice a year, with City staff checking the condition of the bridge monthly. Bridge inspection reports filed by the external engineering consultant in 2016 estimated the bridge’s remaining service life at about one year.

The original bridge crossing the Speed River collapsed in 1974. That bridge was replaced by the Bailey bridge, loaned from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, as a temporary solution.

The current bridge was never intended as a permanent crossing here,” said Dedman. “Bailey bridges were not built to last, and we’re really seeing the effects of long-term use on this one, especially with the abutments being right in the water course.”

The bridge was closed to replace deck boards in April 2015. These surface repairs allowed the City to keep the bridge open for almost two more years. These repairs were made to address the long-term structural integrity of the bridge, which the City has continued to monitor. The structural issues cannot be addressed through repair and would require replacement of the abutments.

Next steps yet to be determined:

The City is waiting on a decision from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change regarding Part II Order requests filed in response to the City’s Notice of Study Completion of the Environmental Assessment before deciding on next steps for the bridge. A permanent solution for the bridge will decided once the City receives the Ministry’s response.

Our decision to close the bridge is in the best interest of community safety,” said Dedman. “Once we receive direction from the Ministry, we can decide how to best proceed with the deteriorating bridge.”


Niska Road bridge structural engineering inspection report 2012 [PDF  9MB]
Niska Road bridge structural engineering inspection report 2013 [PDF 9MB]
Niska Road bridge structural engineering inspection report 2014 [PDF 12MB]
Niska Road bridge structural engineering inspection report May 2016 [PDF 8MB]
Niska Road bridge structural engineering inspection report October 2016 [PDF 15MB]

25 responses to “#Guelph Niska Bridge to be CLOSED! Please Retweet & Share!”

  1. Steve Avatar

    Major Guthrie U R looser. Such a narrow thinking. What big development or developer lurking around corner?
    Isn’t it all about money?
    Shame on you

    1. Cam Guthrie Avatar
      Cam Guthrie

      Thanks Steve. I love being called a loser. It means I’m probably on the right track.

      1. Steva Rajkovic Avatar
        Steva Rajkovic

        I would like to apologise to Major Cam for name calling.
        We R very upset about Niska bridge closing. We live in this area for past 25 years.
        Keep bridge open please for foot traffic, bicycles.

    2. Jen McDermott Avatar
      Jen McDermott

      Steve: Just reviewed Cam’s rules for proper engagement in his blog between himself and the public. Thought this might help for it looks like you have may forgotten or haven’t read this part of his blog.

      Rule #2: be respectful. I want my blog to be a place for honest debates and tough conversations, free from name-calling or attacks.

      Just remember that your point and opinion is weakened once you start name calling. Keep in mind that Cam is the first Mayor to open up through social media and work hard at being fully transparent to the public. You don’t have to agree with city hall’s decisions (some act like Cam works alone down at city hall), however, Cam’s efforts should be commended and he should be treated with respect.

      1. Barry Avatar

        Well said Jen. I look at people like that are the ones that hide behind hurtful words but would be afraid to run for office. To bad Cam is too nice and mature to take these people to task when deserved.

  2. Peace Avatar

    In a previous post I asked why there are no inspection reports posted since October 2016? If the bridge is considered to be unsafe were these inspections done and if not why? Please explain

    1. Cam Guthrie Avatar
      Cam Guthrie

      See my response to email.

  3. Peace Avatar

    If the bridge is unsafe why are there no inspection reports posted since October 2016?? Please post if they are available as the city previously indicated that the bridge is being inspected monthly. So where are the inspection reports since Oct 2916?

    1. Cam Guthrie Avatar
      Cam Guthrie

      Feel free to email mayor@guelph.ca and I’ll ask staff for you:

  4. Peace Avatar

    ? Safety? then why are 18 wheel transport still using the bridge when there has been a major meltdown of snow in the last few days and more to come?

  5. geo Avatar

    I think safety equals liability.

  6. the230i Avatar

    Really? Closed to pedestrians and cyclists … how ridiculous!

    1. Cam Guthrie Avatar
      Cam Guthrie

      Yes. Safety.

      1. Barry Avatar

        And of course liability with the warm temps and runoff and their possible effects on the bridge supports. But why wait as I had said do it now!!

    2. s nicholls Avatar
      s nicholls

      If the bridge is so unsafe, shouldn’t it be closed immediately? In the past few days most of the snow has melted and we had a huge thunder storm tonight with lots of rain (Friday, February 24th, 2017) … very large trucks are still barreling over the bridge … I’m just not understanding how the bridge can be safe for vehicles that clearly exceed the weight restriction of the bridge up until February 28th, 2017 … but on March 1st, 2017 a pedestrian crossing the bridge could be at risk. I’m not an engineer, but can you please explain this to me. Thank you.

      1. Cam Guthrie Avatar
        Cam Guthrie

        Engineers are concerned with upcoming spring thaw and its impact on the abutments. Giving a heads up to community is respectful in my opinion. Obviously if it was critical immediately at present it would closed.

  7. Peace Avatar

    if the bridge is unsafe Why are no inspection reports posted since October 2016? This is now February it defies belief that 18 wheel transport trucks can still illegally use this so called unsafe bridge until the end of the month but not pedestrians or bikes after Feb. 28. The City claimed during the EA process that the bridge was unsafe but no efforts were made to make it safer for bikes or pedestrians. Other single lane bridges have traffic lights or stop and yield signs. According to the CTV story there are now 5000 vehicles using Niska, a narrow local width road with steep hills and poor site lines instead of Wellington 124 and the Hanlon which were built to carry higher volumes of traffic and cost millions to build. Guelph claims to be a city “that makes a difference” but appears it only wants to make a difference for commuters to save them a difference in their travel time of a few minutes, all at the expense of the safety of local residents especially children and the wildlife using the regional wildlife corridor along the river. When the bridge is closed take a few minutes to walk to the river and enjoy the peace and quiet of our Hanlon Creek Conservation lands. Take the time share our vision of a quiet river park, a place of refuge in a very busy traffic congested city. This is why so many people oppose the 2 lane bridge.

  8. gplsusan Avatar

    Great news! Now the lovely river lands can be restored. An independent engineer said the bridge could be easily repaired for pedestrians and cyclists. Save the city $6 million and save the environment and the landscape. Cars have lots of other choices.

  9. Brenda White Avatar

    We use that bridge on a regular basis I hope it will be

    fixed or replaced asap

  10. Trish Avatar

    Your the bridge for safety will you better be building a new one that bridge is to important to be permenty closed

    1. Mr. D Avatar
      Mr. D

      Say what? Is that even English??

  11. Steve Avatar

    Why waited till last minute?
    Looks like scamm

  12. steve morris Avatar
    steve morris

    Could it not still be open for people walking? I understand vehicles but people and bikes like the bridge by the youth centre. I hope you and staff will consider.

  13. davidtstarr Avatar

    Very good disclosure. Thanks. We need more of that.

    David Starr

  14. Barry Avatar

    If it is that dangerous or unstable why would it not be closed right now rather then wait to month’s end? With milder weather on the horizon and probably releases from Guelph Lake combined with other runoff, is the City willing to accept the liability should a vehicle or pedestrian tragedy occur?

Leave a Reply