Heatherton Bridge Replacement Project


The Heatherton Bridge is located on Highway 104 near Pomquet Forks and spanning the Pomquet River in Antigonish County.  It was deemed by officials with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) that this bridge structure has deteriorated to a condition where its replacement is required as a public safety obligation.

The scope of the project includes building a temporary detour structure and approach roadway to the north of the existing Heatherton Bridge.  The detour from start to end will be approximately 1 km in length.  Once it is constructed, traffic will be moved onto the temporary detour and the demolition of the existing Heatherton Bridge will commence.  Once demolition is complete a new concrete structure will be erected as well as new roadway approaches.  The elevation of the new bridge and roadway approaches will be increased by approximately 5 meters in order to provide a safer travelling roadway to the motoring public.

After the new structure and roadway are ready, traffic will be moved back to the new structure and the temporary detour will be disassembled.  All of the fill material will be left in place post construction and may be used as fill for future twinning construction.  Environmental blankets and sediment control measures will be left in place as well.


A tender call was advertised on April 23rd 2014 for the replacement of the Heatherton Bridge and bids were accepted until May 9th 2014.  Nova Construction (Nova), based in Antigonish was the low bidder on the project and won the award to do the construction.

Nova began construction on May 27th 2014.  If all scheduling goes to plan the detour will be in place to the north of the existing structure by October 31st 2014, and traffic will be diverted while work commences on the new structure.  Work will continue throughout the winter months and into the spring and summer of 2015.  The project completion date is July 15th 2015.

During construction traffic may be reduced to one lane in the area from time to time.  All efforts will be made to close lanes only at night; however there may be times when it is impractical to do so.


During construction, if members of the Paqtnkek Band wish to visit the site they are free to do so.  However, with the construction machinery in operation there will be numerous hazards present.  After discussions with Paqtnkek First Nation, the following are recommended protocols made jointly between TIR and Paqtnkek First Nation:

  • Make contact with both Paqtnkek First Nation and a TIR representative approximately one hour in advance and they can advise on what construction operations are taking place and advise on any hazards which may be present.  The TIR construction office phone number is 902-863-0364.
  • Wear all appropriate Personal Protective Equipment when on site including hard hats, safety vests, steel toe boots and if applicable, safety glasses and hearing protection.  TIR will provide some hard hats and vests to the Band.
  • If there is construction equipment on site, ensure that in addition to PPE being worn eye contact is made with operators to ensure your presence is known.
  • Traffic volumes are very heavy through this stretch of highway.  As a mitigation left hand turns are not permitted to gain access to site.  If necessary please drive past the site to a controlled access point and turn around in order to make a right hand turn into the site.
  • Parking is usually available next to the water treatment plant beside the Heatherton Bridge.  It may require crossing the road by foot to get to site.  If crossing the road by foot please use extreme caution and ensure no traffic has crossed the crest of the hill in either direction.  Even if no traffic is visible always use a brisk jog to cross the highway, do not walk.
  • Smaller groups of 3-5 individuals would be preferable at one time.  Both to limit parking restrictions but as well to avoid crowding the work area and creating an additional hazard.