Structural damage limits traffic on Causeway bridge

Structural damage was found in Causeway bridge deck. Traffic over the bridge is now reduced to one lane and vehicles must be under 11 tonnes weight. The bridge is inspected daily.

During the third week of May, Norfolk County discovered that a portion of the Long Point Causeway bridge had “suffered structural compromise.”
During a routine inspection, it was determined that there was a localized area where the wooden bridge deck has been compromised. Engineers were contacted to provide recommendations for remedial action.
Norfolk County immediately reduced traffic to one lane over the bridge along the Long Point Causeway and a speed limit was posted of 30 kilometres per hour. Temporary traffic signals control a single lane of traffic over the bridge.
Norfolk County has now received enhanced Ontario Structure Inspection Manual (OSIM) analysis from qualified engineers which indicates that a 16 foot span of the southbound lane bridge deck (the horizontal portion of the bridge upon which traffic travels) has experienced significant deterioration.
Norfolk County says that as a result of the structural compromise and the need to reduce speed, the northbound lane can safely support up to 11 tonnes of weight.
The bridge is restricted to personal vehicles (Class G license) as per Highway Traffic Act.
“…any motor vehicle not exceeding 11,000 kilograms gross weight and any combination of a motor vehicle not exceeding a total gross weight of 11,000 kilograms and towed vehicles where the towed vehicles do not exceed a total gross weight of 4,600 kilograms…”
This allows typical personal passenger vehicles, recreational vehicles, pickup trucks with trailers, etc., so long as the gross vehicle weight and trailer in combination does not exceed 11 tonnes.
Class “G” motor vehicles cannot tow a trailer over the bridge if the combined weight of the two exceeds 11 tonnes of weight.
The County says this will prevent water haulers, tractor trailers, sewage haulers, garbage trucks, full size school busses and similar vehicles from utilizing the bridge until a medium term solution can be put in place. County staff is working on developing alternative measures for service provision.
Norfolk Fire Department has stationed three vehicles on Long Point. Norfolk EMS vehicles all weigh less than 11 tonnes and can safely cross the bridge.
The County said in a press release that bridge inspections by qualified Professional Engineers will continue on a regular basis.
The Long Point Causeway Bridge was inspected by professional engineers in April of this year. At that time no immediate structural compromises or deficiencies were found.
Norfolk County says “it is unknown whether the severe weather experienced in April may have contributed to the deterioration of the structure.”
The public is asked to comply with the posted load restrictions and speed limits. Drive times to enter and leave Long Point will be increased. This is the only road onto Long Point.
Norfolk County’s Environmental Services Department will be suspending the collection of recycling material from Long Point as a result of the Long Point Causeway Bridge load restriction. Garbage collection will be at the regular curbside collection points using Norfolk County vehicles which comply with the load restrictions.
Residents are requested to not put out recycling materials at the curb. The County says recycling collection will resume when restrictions on the bridge are removed. Residents are able to take recycling material to either the South Walsingham Transfer Station at 1180 3rd Concession or the Material Recovery Facility at 28 Grigg Drive in Simcoe free of charge.
The County says the load limits and speed reduction will assist in keeping the bridge open until the necessary repair work can be completed.
At this time, Norfolk County said it is not possible to determine when both lanes of traffic will be reopened.