Forks Road Bridge | Schouten

Case Study

Forks Road Bridge

Welland, Ontario

A rapidly deteriorating bridge across the Welland Canal dismantled and recycled in record time.

Forks Road Bridge

History of the Bridge

The Forks Road Bridge in Welland, Ontario was an 88-year-old, rapidly deteriorating bridge. It was affectionately known by locals as “Bridge 18,” as it was one of the numbered lift bridges in use in the Welland Canal. Many residents of nearby Dain City, a rural suburb of Welland, used the bridge daily to either walk or drive on.

In late 2018, the bridge was closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic due to the structure deteriorating quicker than anticipated, even after repairs in 2016. A report said the structure could collapse any time within 18 months, with corrosion occurring very rapidly.

No one wanted to lose access to this vital community link, but safety had to come first.

The Problem

Since it was impossible to safely predict how long the bridge would remain strong, a hard deadline for its removal was created. According to city plans, Schouten needed to remove the centre span by May 1, with the remaining approach spans on both sides needing to be removed by the end of May.

The Results

An aggressive demolition plan was put into place by Schouten. With solid project management from Rob Lenting, the site manager, the centre span of the bridge was removed a week and a half early on April 17. Tug boats were brought in to pull and support the bridge as it travelled the canal. The bridge demolition had to be engineered to support the load on a barge.

The 400-tonne, 225-foot centre span was brought to Marine Recycling Corporation in Port Colborne for recycling.

The remaining approach spans were safely removed.

Today, the canal is back in use and talks for the building of a new bridge are underway.

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