Finally, the Corporation of the City of Guelph has set the record straight.
The CAO has confirmed in a public communiqué that the clearance under the Wyndham Street CN Railway Bridge is the maximum that could have been achieved given underground water, wastewater and utility infrastructure and CN Rail requirements and specifications. You can read the communiqué here.
I have watched this issue unfold over the last few weeks with dismay. The misinformation has been supreme and the impression it has left in the community – that the bridge was poorly designed – is not fair to the hard working talent found in our Engineering Department. And that is not right.
While the Champlain Bridge is falling down in Montreal, Guelph has replaced a 100 year-old railway bridge. Can we please stop for a moment and remember what this bridge was like? It was rusted, decrepit, dark, unsafe and a blight on the landscape. Today we have a bridge built to modern engineering and regulatory standards. It is open, bright and safe and a welcome addition to a progressive and enterprising urban centre.
So bravo Corporation of the City of Guelph! Thank you for having the honesty to acknowledge that the communications should have been better about the necessary height restrictions when this project was first presented. And thank you for standing up to publicly defend the reputation and good work of the engineers in your employ.
In Guelph, trucks are permitted to use local streets for deliveries. We also have permissive truck routes for regular, through traffic. This street is not a “permissive truck route” and to prevent over-height truck operators from using the route, the City updated its traffic by-law prohibiting large trucks from using the road.
There are overhead restrictions for large trucks all across this Province. So to over-height truck operators, I say – please stop driving under this bridge or you will be fined for putting at risk the safety of our citizens and the integrity of critical infrastructure.
Postscript – It was good to see our Engineers at the ribbon cutting for another bridge – the Laird/Hanlon interchange – where they could be appropriately recognized for their work and take pride in their contribution to a strong local economy.