The Macdonald Bridge is a critical piece of infrastructure in Halifax and closing it to traffic during The Big Lift is not feasible.
The work will be completed mostly overnight with the bridge being closed six nights (Sunday through Friday) a week from 7pm until 5:30am. The bridge will be open to vehicular traffic from 5:30am until 7:00pm. Approximately 12 full weekend closures will be required during the 18 months the project takes place.
The Big Lift will begin in March 2015 and will be completed by the fall of 2016.
While the bridge will be open to vehicular traffic during The Big Lift, the bike lane and sidewalk must be removed prior to the first panel being replaced. This is unfortunate yet unavoidable. There are several reasons, but the key reason is safety. The new deck is much lighter than the existing deck. To carry out the project the weight on the existing bridge deck must be reduced to account for construction equipment and temporary connections at the construction face.
A new sidewalk and bike lane are added as the new panels are installed and will be reopened in December 2016.
Recognizing that the Macdonald Bridge is the only form of active transportation across the harbour, HHB will provide a 24-hour a day shuttle service. It will consist of three 17-passenger buses with bike trailers attached. Each bike trailer can accommodate 12 bikes. There will be a pick up and drop off location with shelters on each approach to the bridge. This service will be free of charge to the users.