A temporary bridge is being installed on Koshlong Lake Road on Thursday, Feb. 16, closing the road for over 12 hours. /VIVIAN COLLINGS Staff

A troubled bridge over water

By Vivian Collings

I’m sure many people living on the east side of Koshlong Lake Road past the bridge have been “weary and feeling small” for the past couple of months.
The sentiment is there in Simon and Garfunkel’s hit that won the Song of the Year award at the 1970 Grammys, but even Art Garfunkel’s smooth tenor voice can’t quite sing heavy vehicles from shore to shore of a wide section of the Burnt River for the indefinite future.
Even physically, Garfunkel is tall, but he’s not tall enough to “lay me down like a bridge over troubled water.”
Unlike the song, this is a troubled bridge over just plain water.
In all seriousness, the bridge does need to be replaced, according to Dysart officials.
It was built in 1960 and one of its support beams isn’t just cracked, but broken.
Perhaps now is a good time to close the road for over 12 hours for seasonal residents that are staying far away from their frosty cottages, but it’s not a great situation for year-round residents.
These permanent and seasonal residents of Koshlong Lake Road, as well as contractors, have faced a load limit of seven tonnes since Nov. 22, 2022 following the discovery of the beam damage.
At the same time, Dysart staff told council that a temporary bridge would have to go in.
“​​It should be a one-day job,” said Rob Camelon, Dysart’s director of Public Works, at this meeting, “but, until they get in there, they just won’t know.”
The time has come for that temporary bridge to be constructed. Thursday of this week, to be exact.
In James Matthews’ story this week, Koshlong Lake Road to close this week for bridge work, he outlined the details of the closure.
It will close Koshlong Lake Road from 7 a.m. until “around 8 p.m.” on Feb. 16.
So, for those who live past the bridge and need to get anywhere on Thursday – work, school, appointments – it looks like they’ll either need to pack an overnight bag on Wednesday or cancel all obligations for the next day.
This is the area of the county that I grew up in. I certainly know lots of people who will be more than inconvenienced this Thursday.
But this looks to be a step in the right direction, hopefully.
Dysart staff haven’t made it known whether this temporary bridge will increase the weight limit or not.
Many residents have spoken out since November about how this weight limit has hindered their lives.
“Property owners are at greater risk in the event of power outages, forest fires, ice storms, and house fires,” read another story by Matthews about Dysart’s Jan. 24 regular meeting of council.
Plows can’t cross to clear snow and drop sand and salt on an already tumultuous road. Construction supplies can’t be brought over to finish houses.
I also hope the installation doesn’t surpass the estimated time, but again it will take as long as it takes.
“As many as 139 of those properties rely on the bridge as their sole access point,” said a resident.
If you know one of these residents, now would be a good time to reach out and ask if they need assistance or to let them know they’re being thought about – a lifeboat to keep them afloat during this time.