July 24, 2018; Liverpool, NS: Partnerships enable much to be accomplished, and such is the case for repairs required to reopen the Trestle Trail Bridge in Liverpool, NS. Queens Rails to Trails Association’s request for funding support from Region of Queens Municipality’s Council was approved at the Region of Queens July 24, 2018 Regular Council meeting, in an amount up to $90,000 to be funded in 2018-2019 through a withdrawal from Gas Tax Reserve, subject to all funding being in place to advance the first phase of the upgrades.
“Council is happy to provide funds to support Phase One of the upgrades required to reopen the Trestle Trail Bridge, and join with funding partners from private sector and the province to ensure that this popular trail reopens,” said David Dagley, Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. “Completion of repairs that will allow the reopening of the Trestle Trail Bridge will support future trail development by the Queens Rails to Trails Association which will connect east and west Queens.”
The Trestle Trail Bridge is part of the popular Trestle Trail which runs through Liverpool, joining the east and west side of the community by crossing the Mersey River. The bridge was closed in November 2014 due to a recommendation for immediate closure to vehicular and pedestrian traffic following an inspection by structural engineers. Estimates for repairs to the bridge a year following its closure were in the area of half a million dollars. In September, 2016, Council approved a Letter of Authority with Queens Rails to Trails Association for establishment of a shared use trail on the abandoned rail corridor in Liverpool. An agreement was signed in October, 2016 with Queens Rails to Trails Association turning over authority for construction, operation and maintenance of a shared use trail and related facilities for the abandoned rail corridor owned by the Region of Queens Municipality from Bristol Avenue to White Point Road in Liverpool, encompassing the Trestle Trail. The agreement required that prior to construction of the Trail or related facilities, that the Association and Municipality review and finalize the construction schedule, design, and construction standards. As well, the agreement states that the Municipality shall not be responsible for the cost of constructing, maintaining or operating any trails or related facilities within these lands.
The Region of Queens and the Province cost shared with the Queens Rails to Trails Association to provide the Region of Queens with a copy of an engineering report by CBCL Limited concerning short and long term costs over a 10 year period to repair the Trestle Trail Bridge only. The 10 year Class D estimate contained in the report for bridge restoration is estimated to be $1,570,000, with a contingency of 10% built in at each stage for engineering and 20% built in at each stage for cost overruns. The upgrades planned by Queens Rails to Trails are planned in three phases; Phase One is expected to begin in the coming months at an estimated to cost of $490,000, which will enable the bridge to reopen once critical structural work is completed. Queens Rails to Trails Association intends to begin Phase Two soon after Phase One, at an estimated cost of $950,000 for additional structural work. Phase Three is budgeted at $130,000 and must be completed within the ten year time frame. It should be noted that a Class D estimate is usually estimated at a 40% contingency for cost overruns, not 20%, however, future tender bids will determine actual project costs.
Confirmed funding for Phase One includes the Region of Queens commitment of up to $90,000, along with $150,000 from the Province of Nova Scotia, and $250,000 from the J&W Murphy Foundation. Phase Two funding has $500,000 confirmed from the J&W Murphy Foundation, with the balance of $450,000 as yet unconfirmed. Phase Three funding estimated at $130,000 is currently unsecured.
Since 2010, Region of Queens Council has worked with organizations in Queens to conditionally permit off highway vehicle access to the Trestle Trail Bridge to create a recreational trail within Queens that would eventually connect to existing ATV trails in Lunenburg and Shelburne Counties.