Third Street Bridge, Chatham. Photo credit: Chris Taylor.

A week later than originally planned, but construction gets underway on Chatham’s Third Street Bridge today.

The bridge has undergone various repairs over the years, including a short closure in 2018, but Manager of Engineering Brendan Falkner says this marks the start of major rehabilitation.

“Removing the deck, removing the girders, removing the operator house, the railing, and then taking the concrete tiers and the retaining walls basically down to their bases and then building it all up,” Falkner says. “New girders, new deck, wider lanes, wider sidewalks, new railings, lighting, basically a full replacement of the structure.”

The $14-million project was delayed by a week due to COVID related challenges with scheduling sub-contractors.

Falkner says they’re hoping to have the bridge at least partially reopened to traffic by the end of the year.

“It’s a pretty complicated process, so we’re working with our contractor to try and get some vehicular traffic on the bridge by the end of this year, but the completion date for the project is Spring 2022.”

In the meantime, traffic in and out of downtown Chatham will be re-routed over the Fifth Street or Lacroix Street bridges.