When the Searston Gut Bridge closed to all traffic in November 2010, Kaye Gale and members of the Codroy Valley Bailey Bridge Committee actively lobbied the provincial government to get the bridge up and running again.
According to an Aug. 19 news release, work to replace the bridge is progressing as the provincial government calls a tender for the removal of the structure.
The tender will be issued by late September and the project is expected to be complete by 2012.
Mrs. Gale said she was pleased with the news.
“It all looks good on paper,” she said, “so hopefully it’s going to be a reality.”
Hockey Gale, owner of E.W. Gale Ltd. store, said it was great news about the bridge.
“Our business has been down over the last year, but not drastically,” he said.
Mr. Gale said the bridge’s closure has affected everyone in the area.
The release said Amec, engineering, project management and consulting company, is completing a topographical survey of the land and the waterway channel in the area.
In the coming weeks, there will be a geotechnical investigation of the site to examine soil and rock conditions.
The bridge closed after an engineering inspection raised safety concerns about the bridge’s foundations and supporting structure.
“We haven’t had nearly the same number of tourists this year because that bridge is out and they cannot make the loop,” said Mrs. Gale.
She said stores and services on the route have also been affected, including the Silver Sands Restaurant and Lounge in Searston which she said has lost at least 50 per cent of its business.
“That is a missing link in terms of unifying our Codroy Valley,” said Mrs. Gale.
In April, transportation and works minister Tom Hedderson announced the bridge would be replaced.
“I am pleased with the progress of this project,” he said, adding people have relied on the bridge for many years.
The government was contacted but did not respond in time for deadline.