MacKay Bridge to close for two weekends to allow for critical maintenance

November 21, 2023

Closure dates:

Friday Nov. 24, 7 p.m. to Monday Nov. 27 at 5:30 a.m.

Friday Dec. 1, 7 p.m. to Monday Dec. 4, 5:30 a.m.

The 53-year-old MacKay Bridge will be closed for critical maintenance for the next two weekends.

“There is no good time to close one of our bridges, but unfortunately more full closures are going to be necessary as the structures require an increasing amount of maintenance as they age,” says HHB CEO Tony Wright.

There have been considerable efforts to revitalize the Macdonald Bridge in the last decade, beginning with the in the Big Lift, and Wright says it’s now time to focus more dedicated attention on the MacKay Bridge.

The weekend work will see the replacement of two 10,000 kilogram deck sections where cracking of steel plate has been detected in recent inspections. They will be the eighth and ninth panels that have been replaced on the Mackay Bridge since 2010.

“The bridge is safe and the inspections are doing what they are supposed to be doing: they are identifying challenges that we need to address,” says Chief Bridge Engineer Ahsan Chowdhury.

The construction will require a 100-tonne crane that takes up nearly the entire width of the bridge to remove the deteriorating section and replace it with a new section recently manufactured at Cherubini Metal Works in Dartmouth. Paving will then be required to integrate the segments smoothly with the rest of the bridge.

“We’ve been planning the work for several months. We have specialty workers from across Canada on site. We delayed last weekend to accommodate the Parade of Lights. Unfortunately, with winter weather approaching, we couldn’t delay any longer,” says Wright.

Given the inevitable traffic congestion, HHB joins with Halifax Transit in recommending parade goers plan on arriving early and staying late.

The future of the MacKay Bridge has been under discussion since the release of a 2018 engineering report.  Bridge engineers have been studying options and a tender to clearly identify the challenges associated with a rehabilitation effort is expected in the coming weeks.

The work (and the closures) are weather-dependent and subject to change.