News

Thorold Tunnel closed until Friday

By Karena Walter, The Standard

File photo of the interior of the Thorold Tunnel. Photo special by Hannah Visser/St. Catharines Standard/Postmedia Network

File photo of the interior of the Thorold Tunnel. Photo special by Hannah Visser/St. Catharines Standard/Postmedia Network

Fixing the Thorold Tunnel is more labour-intensive than officials thought after the concrete ceiling was damaged by a load that was too high.

The process to fix the tunnel on Highway. 58 under the Welland Canal involves multiple steps.

“It’s a lot of work to restore it,” said Ministry of Transportation spokeswoman Astrid Poei, explaining the ministry thought it could get it fixed by Tuesday but is now aiming for a re-opening on Friday.

Crews first have to remove damaged concrete panels, which they are doing now.

As a result of the panels being removed, lighting also has to be taken down and then restored.

New replacement concrete panels have to be manufactured and shipped to Thorold because they aren’t readily available.

Finally, sand is being trucked in to protect the roadway just in case a panel slips and falls during the work.

The westbound lanes of the tunnel were closed last Friday after a flatbed truck carrying an excavator drove through the tunnel about noon and scraped the top inside.

The vertical clearance for the tunnel is 4.75 metres.

Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said the driver was charged with having an over-height vehicle.