Sisters hoping to see Concession 2 North bridge preserved

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A pair of sisters are taking action with the hope of saving the bridge on Concession 2 North near River Canard.

The fate of the bridge is currently up in the air as the town has several options for what to do with the decaying structure, but Carmel and Patricia Ravanello hope the option of demolition isn’t chosen. Carmel said they were out at their family’s property one day and saw measurements being taken on the bridge and questioned a worker as to what was going on. Patricia added they talked to a worker and he said there was a tender out for removal and replacement of the current bridge, so they took action and found the tender. They followed up by contacting town administration.

The fate of the Concession 2 North bridge will be discussed by town council May 23 but  sisters Carmel and Patricia Ravanello hope the final result isn’t demolition of the bridge.

The fate of the Concession 2 North bridge will be discussed by town council May 23 but sisters Carmel and Patricia Ravanello hope the final result isn’t demolition of the bridge.

“We want it to be repaired, if anything,” said Carmel.

The Ravanello sisters believe it is a historic bridge, with Patricia stating her research shows it was built in 1938 by the R.J. Blyth Co. She said they had placed an advertisement in The Amherstburg Echo around that time period.

“They also built the St. Joseph Church bridge,” said Patricia.

Carmel noted that bow arch bridges, like the one on Concession 2 North, are rare and that they just wanted to bring attention to what is going on. The sisters point out the significance of the bridge ranks seven out of ten on a national and local level according to the website www.historicalbridges.org. They said they realize costs are a factor and know estimates are higher than the $365,000 the town has budgeted for the bridge, but they just want to spark new ideas.

While they point out they are open to all ideas, the Ravanello sisters offer additional suggestions such as performing “basic maintenance” on the bridge, using it as a pedestrian and cycling bridge and build another bridge next to it for vehicles, close Concession 2 North to through traffic and have no bridge at all.

“We’re not saying close the bridge but it’s an option,” said Carmel.

They acknowledge concerns that the bridge is too narrow, but Carmel believes that can be overcome with proper signage warning of the width of the bridge. Patricia adds that it “serves as a traffic calming” device with the sisters concerned over speeding in the area.

“Our concern is the bridge,” said Carmel. “We’re open to anything. I’m just not open to it being demolished. We’d like to see it maintained.”

“We’re very negotiable,” said Patricia.

A portion of the Concession 2 North bridge is shown decaying. Council will get a chance to discuss the bridge's fate May 23.

A portion of the Concession 2 North bridge is shown decaying. Council will get a chance to discuss the bridge’s fate May 23.

Todd Hewitt, the manager of engineering for the town of Amherstburg, said there will be a report going before town council May 23. He said estimates to repair the bridge came in “significantly higher” than the original cost for bridge repairs that was budgeted for so the town issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to replace the bridge.

Three options will be presented to council, including repairing the bridge, replacing the bridge with a standard look, and replacing the bridge with a similar looking bridge.

“What we’re trying to do is give council all the options,” said Hewitt. “Obviously, they have different costs associated with them.”

Hewitt said council has to make the choice as it has become a budgetary matter due to costs exceeding the original budgeted amount.

“We just want to give council all of the options so they can make an informed decision,” he said.

The town has no records on the age of the bridge, he added, and that there is some useful life left in the bridge but noted it will eventually reach the end of its serviceable lifespan. While there is life left in it, he cautioned there will be “significant costs” to bring it back up to standard.

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