October 17, 2012

Plan of the Bissett Brook Bridge

After a summer long hiatus caused by weather and a sub-contractor’s delays in another project in Labrador this year’s project is picking up steam by the stream. Over the last two weeks we are seeing welcome activity for this phase of the ambitious Bissett Lake Trails project.

The aim this year was to complete phase 2 of the Bissett Lake trail – the crossing of Bissett Brook to join Colby Village and Forest Hills to the Cole Harbour Heritage Park. Earlier this year the trail was cut out and a basic trail surface installed. The challenge now became getting the bridge and installing it across the Bissett Brook. A series of engineering studies were completed along with obtaining the required environmental and transport Canada permits for working in the wetland area that the new bridge and trail will show off once completed.

A contract for the bridge was awarded and the bridge is at the fabricators awaiting transport to the contractor’s yard and final installation. This part of the project was financed entirely by funding made available from the District 4 councillor, Lorelei Nicoll. Terra Marine Environmental Ltd won the contract for the installation of the bridge and final touches for the trail which will connect Colby Village with the rest of the CHPTA trail system. The accompanying pictures show the installation of the Micro-piles which will support the bridge abutments. This type of piling was required to minimise impact on the wetland area while ensuring a safe foundation for the bridge in an area where solid ground is not found until one digs down to over 12 metres (40 feet) of peat and muck! The footprint on the ground is deceptively small but the soft terrain is a definite challenge. Our volunteer project manager, Charley Sharkey, has been constantly on the go working with HRM Regional Trails Staff, the contractors and the various regulatory agencies to keep the project moving. 

Once the piles are properly placed and the slurry mixture cures, Terra Marine will then construct two bridge abutments, a short length of board walk, and install the bridge. The completion date depends a lot on the weather and final funding arrangements with the Halifax Regional Municipality. The weather is beyond our control but the HRM Regional Trails Staff have stated that the funding will be finalized in the very near future allowing the CHPTA to proceed with the installation before the end of the year for sure and hopefully within the next month.

The site from the Colby side looking across the Brook. Beyond the wood planks is the rig for placing the piles. The beaver lodge is just to the right of the rig across the brook.

The machinery for preparing and delivering the slurry that fills the piles and gives them their strength.

The micro-piles (foreground) with the slurry forms in the back.

 Michael McFadden