The county is undertaking a safety review of all of the structural assets along the trail, including the seven bridges (three in Almonte, two in Carleton Place and two in Pakenham).
“The corridor has never been open to the public and it remains closed at this time to ensure safety,” explained Lanark County CAO Kurt Greaves. “At this point the bridges do not have safety railings in place.”
Lanark County, Renfrew County and the Township of Papineau-Cameron formed a partnership in 2011 and recently signed a lease and donation agreements to acquire ownership of the 296-kilometre abandoned Canadian Pacific Rail between Smiths Falls and Mattawa. The county’s portion runs from Sturgess Road in Montague Township to the Renfrew/Ottawa border. The intent is to work with local municipalities, the Lanark County Trails Corporation, the public and other partners to develop the multi-use trail.
Additional signage and fencing has been posted at one of the bridges in Almonte where construction work is occurring at the unrelated Enerdu project nearby.
“That bridge was inspected by county staff this week and is in need of structural and safety upgrades,” Mr. Greaves said. “The county was notified that blasting will be occurring and the work might cause further instability to the bridge, so additional precautions have been taken to discourage trespassing and to ensure public safety and reduce taxpayer liability.”
Mr. Greaves said that pending budget approval the county plans to fix all of the bridges next year and open the trail to the public in 2017. Until then, the entire corridor remains closed.