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HomeNewsDuchesnay Creek Bridge replacement officially complete

Duchesnay Creek Bridge replacement officially complete

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The replacement of the Duchesnay Creek Bridge is officially complete.

A small ceremony was held Friday morning with representatives from Nipissing First Nation (NFN), and Miller Paving Limited (Miller).

According to a release sent by NFN, the $12 million project was fully funded by the provincial government and awarded to the Nipissing-Miller Partnership, a joint venture in which Nipissing has a majority stake. NFN and Miller began preparing for this opportunity in 2018 by launching an initiative that provided on-the-job training and experience for NFN members, as well as future employment and training opportunities.

“Following the sudden closure of the bridge at the end of January 2019 over structural concerns, we successfully lobbied the province to sole source this project to the Nipissing-Miller Partnership,” explains Chief Scott McLeod. He added that Ontario’s support of the proposal marked “a significant change in the way of doing business and a step forward towards reconciliation.”

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The release says the project not only had historical significance in terms of being the last timber bridge remaining in Ontario (built-in 1937 and designated under the Ontario Heritage Act); it was also groundbreaking in terms of creating real economic opportunities for Nipissing First Nation, which already had a strong business relationship with Miller spanning over 15 years.

“The General Partnership has been a great success,” says Chris O’Reilly, Manager of Heavy Civil for Miller Paving. “This project was challenging to say the least, and as a team, we had numerous hurdles to overcome prior to even breaking ground. Our team never put the brakes on. We tackled the demolition in frigid winter weather, and our first summer construction season was riddled with manpower shortages, COVID delays and implementing new measures to protect everyone on our team.”

O’Reilly says although the team experienced multiple delays, the project finished only a few days later than anticipated.

With the bridge now completed, the Nipissing-Miller crew is undertaking the second phase of the project between highway 17 and Couchie Memorial Drive. The scope of work includes creating a new entrance to Duchesnay Village, removing the abandoned CN Rail overpass, shaving the hill to improve sightlines, and one kilometre of paving between highway 17 and the new Duchesnay Creek bridge.

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