According to a notice on the South Algonquin Township website, the municipality is putting out a tender for companies to undertake the rehabilitation of the Airy Pedestrian Bridge, which is part of the trail system where Airy Road meets Galeairy Lake, southwest of Hwy 60 in South Algonquin Township. Tenders for this project are due on June 24, and the winning bidder will be notified no later than July 8.
Discussed at their Asset Management committee meeting back in February, the rehabilitation of the Airy Pedestrian Bridge was going to cost around $49,000, according to the Ontario Structure Inspection Manual, a book that dictates the procedures and requirements for inspecting bridges. At the time it was contingent on the township getting a COVID-19 related grant, the COVID-19 Resilient Infrastructure Stream, which they have subsequently gotten.
Councillor Bongo Bongo, one of the township’s councillors for the Airy ward, says that the Airy Pedestrian bridge, known locally as “the Trestle” truly makes Whitney unique.
“I don’t think there is another village with convenient pedestrian access into Algonquin Park. Via the Trestle, I am able to bike, run or walk into Algonquin Park from downtown Whitney in approximately 30 minutes. The Trestle is beloved by the entire community and provides outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities for locals and tourists alike in all four seasons,” he says.
According to Bongo, the Trestle used to be a train track, and that he envisions the train and its history every time he walks the pedestrian bridge. He says the Trestle was last rehabilitated in the 1990s.
Bongo says that residents had been approaching him recently to express concern about the deteriorating status of the bridge, and the whole community is quite happy that it is being rehabilitated. He says that COVID-19 has reminded municipalities how important outdoor recreation is, so the timing of this project is perfect. He says that South Algonquin will continue to invest in public assets like the Trestle so that its residents and tourists can continue to enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle.
“Some of the most beautiful sunsets can be enjoyed for this pedestrian bridge. It’s wonderful that the community will be able to continue enjoying this valuable asset for generations to come thanks to this rehabilitation initiative,” he says.
According to the general description of the work in documents on the township website, the company that wins the tender will be expected to remove and replace the bridge’s timber railings, curbs and decking and also make other erosion control and slope protection improvements to the structure.
The winning tender will also provide all construction tools, machinery and apparatus to complete the work and will do so in adherence to the plans and conditions put forth by the township. They will begin work on the bridge on or about Sept. 6 and will complete all work before Oct. 29. Within 10 days of the receipt of the notice of successful tender, the contractor must file a 100 per cent performance bond and a 100 per cent labour and material payment bond, to the satisfaction of the township.
The tender for the bridge rehabilitation is being administered by the township with engineering services being provided by Jewell Engineering Inc. The tender closes at 1 p.m. on June 24 and will be received by Dave Gatley, South Algonquin’s works superintendent, and Chris Bent, professional engineer with Jewell Engineering Inc. Questions on the tender are accepted until June 21, and council will decide whether or not to go forward with Gatley’s recommendation for the winning tender at their July 7 meeting. The winning tender will be notified no later than July 8.
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times