By James Matthews
Koshlong Lake Road in Dysart will temporarily close Feb. 16.
The thoroughfare will close starting 7 a.m. to allow for a temporary bridge to be installed. Dysart officials say the closure will last until about 8 p.m.
Then again, a notice on the township’s website indicates the road will be closed as long it takes to complete the work.
“Users of Koshlong Lake Road should plan accordingly as they will not be able to access Koshlong Lake properties or Gelert Road during this road closure,” reads the notice posted on the town’s website.
It is anticipated the temporary bridge system on Koshlong Lake Bridge will remain in place until engineering is completed on a permanent replacement structure.
During a routine inspection late last year, engineers found a broken timber girder on the bridge that spans the Burnt River. The bridge is a little north of Tippy’s Trail and was built in 1960.
Because of that troubled timber, engineers reduced the load limit of the bridge that spans Burnt River to seven tonnes. That reduced load limits the size of vehicles and equipment able to traverse the bridge.
Dysart municipal council approved on Jan. 24 the installation of a temporary bridge system. An oversized crane will install the new temporary bridge system, weighing 29 tonnes, overtop of the existing bridge.
Along with the safety requirements of the crane lifting large sections of the bridge over the river and time to connect the sections together, there will be numerous support vehicles and personnel on site, requiring Koshlong Lake Road to be completely closed throughout the day.
It was also during that Jan. 24 meeting that some Dysart residents dependent on the Koshlong Lake bridge expressed fear they have been put in danger by load limits to the bridge.
Affected residents expressed to council their fears the weight restrictions have put property owners at greater risk in the event of power outages, forest fires, ice storms, and house fires.
Vehicles and equipment necessary to respond to such incidents weigh more than the bridge’s load limit. Many people may not be able to have heating propane delivered or have their septic tanks pumped.
Even snowclearing is hampered as plows are not allowed to cross the bridge.
As to when the temporary bridge can be removed to accommodate a permanent solution, council will have a staff report in the coming weeks that will offer details about what may be done to return full operation of the bridge.
“It is anticipated the temporary bridge system on Koshlong Lake Bridge will remain in place until engineering is completed on a permanent replacement structure,” town officials said.
“The temporary bridge system will become part of Dysart’s assets and could be deployed in other locations, should the need arise.”