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For Port Bruce residents, the wait for a new bridge after flooding caused the original structure to collapse, has been a challenge.

The loss of the original bridge in Feb. 2018 drew national interest, and even a visit from a popular reality TV show.

And for months last year - including the all-important summer days - residents and visitors had to detour up to 20 minutes just to use the one entrance into the Lake Erie shoreline community.

Then late last August, a temporary bridge was put into service, spanning Bank Street, just north of Dexter Line.

It’s controlled by traffic lights, and only permits one lane of traffic and pedestrian crossings.

Nearby small business owner, Darcy Taylor just opened his doors, right between where the temporary bridge is, and the new one is slated to be rebuilt.

He says the bridge collapse forced him to not open, as planned, in 2018. Instead, he waited until this season.

Business has been slower than expected, and he’s hopeful the new two-way span will help next year.

Down at the pier and beach, Jazmine Smale of the Corner View Café says the loss of the bridge last year caused sales to drop.

“People still came down, but it really cut down on business, probably 25 to 30 per cent.”

But since the temporary bridge went in, Smale says traffic at her pick-up window has significantly improved.

The Mayor of Malahide Township, Dave Mennill, agrees, but sympathizes with business owners, visitors and residents.

He says a public meeting will be held July 16 at the East Elgin Community Complex in Aylmer to discuss the potential design of the new bridge.

From there, he says a price will be determined to take to the upper levels of government, and “We have the support of (MPP) Jeff Yurek.”

“We are hoping for as much money as we can from the province, because this was a provincial bridge, it was not county bridge. So when it went down, it was their design, not ours, so they need to help us out with this one,” Mennill says.

He says the township hopes to have the new span in place by this time next year.