Truck driver fined after bridge collapses in Colchester County

Province says truck was of a class not permitted on bridge

The driver of a transport truck was not injured Tuesday when a bridge collapsed as they were driving over it in Nova Scotia’s Colchester County.

The RCMP said the bridge on Lake Road near Tatamagouche collapsed around 7 a.m. AT. But according to the Department of Public Works, the truck should not have been on the bridge in the first place.

“The class of truck on the bridge was not permitted on that section of Lake Road due to the road’s classification for truck weight and configuration,” department spokesperson Gary Andrea said in an email.

One summary offence ticket has been issued and others are pending, he said.

Fines for violating the road’s classification for truck weight and configuration, said Andrea, can range anywhere from $237 to $4,100.

Bridge will be replaced

The deputy minister of public works, Peter Hackett, told reporters Wednesday his department would be assessing the damage as soon as possible to determine the best course of action.

“We’ll clean it up, we’ll take it out of service and we’ll get a replacement in there,” said Hackett, following his appearance before a previously scheduled legislature committee to discuss the state of the province’s bridges and contaminated sites. “It will probably happen sooner than later.

“Our folks will start doing some surveys on it … and when we get a chance to get in, once things in the investigation are done, and then hopefully get it done you know sooner than later.”

He said if a temporary bridge is needed, one can probably be installed “fairly quickly.” But he cautioned a full replacement could take months.

According to the department, in Nova Scotia right now, approximately 600 bridges, representing 14 per cent of all bridges in the province, are rated at poor condition or worse and need upgrades.

Bridges at that rating are still considered safe but receive more frequent and intense inspections than higher rated ones.

The Mounties said the road will be closed indefinitely, and drivers are advised to use Trout Brook Road or Cooper Road.

A photo shows a transport truck rolled onto its side in the French River next to the collapsed bridge.