The United Counties Council is approving a recommendation to include a new four-lane bridge across the Kemptville Creek for the County Road 43 project. The design to widen County Road 43 from the existing two-lane to a four-lane road dates back to 2008. At the time, the existing two-lane bridge was considered to be in good condition and the plan was for it to remain in place. Additional analysis completed in 2020, however, indicated that a new four-lane bridge was a more effective option than rehabilitating the existing two-lane bridge. New bridges, such as the one now planned for CR43, have a life expectancy of approximately 75 years.
Building a four-lane bridge will increase the cost of the project by $7.2-millon. The new estimated cost of the County Road 43 expansion is $38.7-million.
Inquiries have been made about the design of the new bridge, to see if it will be higher than the current structure, in order to allow boats to pass under it. The hope is to allow boats using the Rideau Canal system to access the dock at the Prescott Bridge in Kemptville. However, even if the new bridge does allow for the passage of boats, there is another obstacle at Bridge Street, where the bridge there would also need to be high enough to allow passage.
In the past, when vessels could travel right up to the old docks in Kemptville, the structure at Bridge Street was a swing bridge, so that issue was not a problem. That structure was replaced in 1959.
Yet another potential problem would be the current depth of the South Branch, which might need to be dredged to accommodate vessels from the Rideau Canal. Construction on the new four-land bridge on County Road 43 is beginning this year.