MORRISBURG – “The last time we addressed this particular project there were a few things in the air, and the guidance of council really was very helpful in terms of bringing the design to where I’m presenting it now,” Harold Kleywegt of Keystone Bridge Management Corp. said during the Municipality of South Dundas Feb. 28 council meeting.

Kleywegt explained the reasoning behind the various measurements and design choices for the Taylor Road Bridge project, including provincial requirements and council’s desire to keep costs at a minimum. He said he expected residents living near the bridge would view some of the choices “favourably.”

“Last we spoke, we weren’t clear on the foundation investigation results and I’ve since found out that we can build a bridge on spring footings, so we do not have to absorb the cost of putting in a pile foundation,” he said. “That will save about $100,000 in the value of the project.”

In addition to updating South Dundas politicians on the design status of the bridge project, Kleywegt also addressed two concerns brought forward by municipal staff. The first was heritage considerations due to the age of the bridge, and the second was a breakdown of the potential benefits to pre-purchasing.

In his report, Kleywegt noted that a Cultural Heritage Assessment, which he said cost roughly $10,000, is a provincial requirement for older structures. He said Wendy Shearer was hired to conduct the assessment, which has now been completed. Kleywegt also outlined considerations for pre-purchasing straight from the supplier. The report can be found in the agenda package for the Feb. 28 meeting.

The report also states that the current design approach is both a “sympathetic and appropriate replacement design type.” It was suggested that a simple tribute be added to preserve a few key features of the bridge.

“These are some suggestions by Wendy in terms of what might be retained from the existing bridge and possibly incorporated into some sort of a small heritage plaque that acknowledges the bridge,” Kleywegt said, referring to bridge photos featured in the report. “It was also recommended that the engineering characteristics of the bridge are retained for posterity. That work has already been done.”

The benefits of pre-purchasing were listed, including price certainty, no contractor mark-up, and a more assured delivery date if ordered early. Other considerations included the municipality’s responsibility for ensuring timely delivery of the bridge and the potential need for temporary storage of the bridge components until work on the bridge begins.

“With pre-purchasing the bridge, there are a couple of things that are on the plus column. We have price certainty. The supplier’s going to give more favourable client status to municipalities such as South Dundas than they would with, perhaps, a contractor that they may not have the same credit rating, for example,” Kleywegt said. “Council would save the cost of contractor markup by buying ahead of time.”

The report suggested a potential $20,000 savings with pre-purchasing the bridge. Kleywegt said savings could equate to roughly one to two per cent of the project value overall. He said the design is based on an ACROW panel. ACROW is an American company. The only competitor is England’s Maybe Bridge, which has been purchased by ACROW.

In response to a question from Coun. Archie Mellan, Kleywegt said there’s no advantage to removing the bridge right now due to spring’s fast approach, which alters working conditions. He suggested waiting until the contractor is ready to install the new bridge. The bridge can, however, be pre-ordered now, he said. As for installing the new bridge, this can’t be done until July 1 at the earliest. He suggested doing the work sometime between August and October.

“Harold, excellent update,” Mayor Steven Byvelds said. “I think we all needed to hear that from you. It’s, as I said, our biggest project of the year.”

The Feb. 28 meeting ended with staff being directed to contact both ACROW and Maybe Bridge for prices. They were also directed to return to council once the bids are received.

In a follow up to the Feb. 28 update, South Dundas staff and politicians revisited the Taylor Road Bridge project during the March 3 Committee of the Whole meeting. Director of Transportation Jeff Hyndman told council that a contractor was available to remove the existing bridge in roughly two weeks at a cost of roughly $7,000. He assured council the contractor is aware of the heritage requirements and has agreed to salvage the identified components. Staff was directed to contact surrounding neighbours who may be impacted by the work.

Council agendas can be found on the municipal website ( Council meetings, including Committee of the Whole meetings, can be viewed on the township’s YouTube page.