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Major overhaul of Peace Bridge complete

The Peace Bridge has undergone the most complete rehabilitation project in its 92-year history.

The $100-million project included the replacement of the bridge deck and replacement, rehabilitation and strengthening of the steel to enable another 75 years of operation.

More visibly, the bridge was also widened to accommodate a wider sidewalk with room for bicycles and an observation deck and new lighting, gantries and signage was installed.

Underneath, the electrical infrastructure was replaced as well as modern fibre optic cabling for cross-border electronic communications.

Tim Clutterbuck, chairman of the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, noted during a ribbon-cutting ceremony June 21 that the project was financed by the Peace Bridge without any government funding.

The bridge stands as a “testament to the cooperation of our two great nations,” he said.

“The bridge was opened on June 1, 1927,” he said.  “It took less than two years to build, was an engineering marvel of the day and cost $4.5 million to construct.”

Construction was planned to provide for no-lane closures during the busy summer months, so much of the work took place during the winter and night.

“It was cold,” said night shift construction manager Bill Friend. “The temperature went down to -27 and wind gusted up to 105 miles an hour.”

While bad weather sometimes hampered the construction, the project was delivered on time and under budget.

“I love this bridge,” said Friend. “People talk about signature bridges all over the place. You look at the way these arches graduate from Canada all the way to the top, it’s one of the most beautiful bridges I’ve ever seen.”