NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Placentia Lift Bridge Collapse

Remember back when I posted about our short recent trip to Newfoundland I mentioned they were building a new lift bridge to replace the old Ambrose Shea?

View of bridge pilings and construction progress from Ferndale Road in May

We made that effort to stop by the bridge and watch it lift for a passing boat because we didn't know if it would still be there when we returned.  They've been having some trouble building the new one for the last couple of years due to budget concerns, but it looks like they've been closing it at night this summer to get work done.

Well, I got an email from my mother today about a collapse.

photo courtesy of VOCM website

The word is not official yet, but they're thinking a cable let go.  Hopefully they'll get it sorted out because the new bridge is not due to be up and running until 2016. Putting in the new bridge is going to cost more than 40 million, which sounds crazy until you think about all that goes into the new bridge.  It's not just the design, the manpower and the materials, its the permits, the road realignment and the dismantling of the old bridge as well.

Give all that some thought the next time you drive over a bridge!  Meanwhile, here's to a quick solution to today's problem as the folks in Placentia are kind of stranded without it, or at least their cars are since the could always hop in a boat.  The main highway passes into Placentia from Argentia and that is the only way in from that direction. As you keep going out the other side and leave Placentia behind you are getting further from civilization with no easy way back.

The plans for the new bridge from the construction website:
Scheduled for completion in the spring of 2016, the work consists of building two 58 metre long temporary trestles with 600 millimetre pipe piles and a deck to enable a 150 ton crawler crane to construct the two new central piers deep in the Placentia Bay. The new lift bridge will consist of 9,290 metres of 325 millimetre pipe piling; 2,200 square metres of sheet pile used as a cofferdam; 4,100 cubic metres of concrete; 1,000 tons of structural steel; and the mechanical and electrical components to allow the central lift span to open for the shipping lane through the narrow water channel.

During construction, the team has encountered tidal ranges of over three metres with swift currents. The piling required for the south pier and south abutment has increased substantially due to changes in geotechnical conditions, which has required deeper driven piles. Once the bridge substructure is complete, structural steel will be erected. The centre span will be the major challenge as it involves shutting down the shipping lane to allow the erection of a 100 ton span using the mechanical and electrical systems of the permanent structure. The entire span of the bridge will be 100 metres, consisting of two approach spans and a centre 30 metre span.


  1. a bit frightening to see these things happening. I can understand now how that location got its name too. Carole, at

  2. Yes sir! That's scary. Too bad they can't have just a simple little bridge bridge or even a a drawbridge. I'd sure be worried if I lived there.

  3. 40 million and it collapses! Heads will roll.

    1. The 40 million is for the new bridge which isn't built yet, it's the old one that collapsed.

  4. Tell me about it. We haver had road bridges being rebuilt by the railways but one of the ones we use has been out of use since Sep 2013 and is not duew to be ready till Sep 2014 because they messed up with contractors. Means a 10 mile detour to go shopping. Mind you that is not as bad as one further up the line they are taking out. That will mean over a 20 mile one and it's on a main trunk road, least ours was a country road so not so buisy

  5. Oh dear. And we thought we had problems when our Skyway was damaged recently and it was closed to all Toronto bound traffic for several days.