Transportation and Works staff inspected the Placentia lift bridge on a daily basis, a department spokesman said today, but didn’t foresee its failure.
One end of the bridge collapsed shortly before noon Sunday while it was open for a vessel to pass under.
And there is also a service contract in place with Edward Collins Contracting to undertake repairs and general maintenance, valued at $100,000.
There were structural, electrical and mechanical inspections in fall 2011 and spring 2012 that resulted in some upgrades, according to a Transportation and Works spokesman.
But a contract has already been awarded to replace The Sir Ambrose Shea bridge and construction is valued at more than $40 million.
The lift bridge in Placentia is still hanging at an ugly angle, but government officials are hoping it can be evened out and reopened to vehicle traffic soon.
As it stands, all traffic to Placentia has to travel along a gravel road, and washboard sections and dust make for rough going.
Placentia Mayor Wayne Power said the broken bridge is a major inconvenience on daily life and a disruption for tourism operators in town. On top of that, several fishing vessels are tied up at the wharf on the wrong side of the bridge, so they can’t make it out to the ocean.
Transportation Minister Nick McGrath was at pains to make it clear that the bridge did not collapse, and it’s still structurally sound. McGrath said the first priority is lowering the other half of the bridge and making it safe for vehicle traffic.
After that, officials will do the work of fixing the mechanical issues.