Wells wants warning sign when bridge is closed

Should a sign be installed on Highway 6 east warning motorists when the bridge is closed? Share your comments. Photo by Earl Hartlen

By David Judd

JOHN Wells wants a sign installed on Highway 6 east of Port Dover to warn motorists when the downtown bascule bridge is closed.
A sign would have helped last Monday when the bridge was closed for more than nine hours.
At about 10:30 a.m., the arms that block traffic at the bridge refused to go up.
The problem was fixed at 8 p.m.
For hours, motorists entering town from the direction of Jarvis drove to the bridge; realized the bridge was closed; turned around; and drove back on Highway 6 to detour into town on Concession 2.
A sign at Concession 2 could have warned drivers to detour before they drove to the bridge, Coun. Wells told county councillors last Tuesday.
But signs on Highway 6 are a provincial responsibility.
County staff will ask the Ministry of Transportation to install a sign to alert motorists when the bridge is closed.
The bridge’s operator called the county’s communications centre at the start of last Monday’s incident, Deputy Fire Chief Gord Stilwell said in an interview.
Fire, ambulance, police and other officials were aware that the bridge was closed.
At first, repairs were expected to take about 90 minutes.
The bridge operator gave updates about the lengthening time frame.
Firefighters and ambulance personnel often put vehicles and staff on the east side of town when they know the downtown bridge will be closed for several hours.
That didn’t happen last Monday because repairs were expected in a short time.
Coun. Wells wants to see in writing the procedures for alerting the county about bridge closures.
“We were very fortunate there was no emergency,” Coun. Wells said in an interview. “Let’s solve this before there’s a problem.”
Deputy Chief Stilwell said firefighters call the bridge operator when their trucks need to cross the bridge.
The operator will wait for fire vehicles to cross the bridge before raising it for river traffic.


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