A closure on Western University campus will force a number of students to make adjustments to their scholarly commutes.
The University Drive bridge is set to close Thursday, prohibiting any vehicular traffic from travelling on its surface.
Elizabeth Krische is the associate vice-president of facilities management for Western University.
Krische says after a bridge inspection in late September revealed increased damage to bearings underneath, the structural engineering team who conducted the inspection recommended the bridge be closed.
“The engineering firm was very clear with us that we needed to shut it down as soon as possible,” said Krische, adding that the firm gave the university until Oct. 19, so that the general public could be notified in advance.
While Western staff had previous knowledge of the need for bridge repairs, Krische says they were originally told it could be deferred until a later time.
“That’s why we were doing the inspection this fall, hoping to do repairs in the spring [of 2019],” said Krische.
“Unfortunately, there’s been more deterioration than we anticipated.”
While there’s no official date for when the bridge will reopen, Krische says the closure could last between several weeks and several months.
“It’s a 95-year-old structure… so we have to design the repair and then find a company that can actually jack the bridge up to facilitate those repairs,” said Krische.
“We’re expecting it will be sometime [near] Christmas or afterwards.”
While vehicular traffic will be prohibited from travelling on the bridge, pedestrians and active transportation, such as cyclists and skateboarders, will still be allowed to pass through safely.
To accommodate the closure, London Transit placed detours on routes 6, 13 and 106, all of which have buses that previously drove through the bridge.
Shuttles that operate between Western and their affiliate colleges, Brescia, Huron and King’s, have also been rerouted and accessibility plans will be implemented for those in need.