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Six-month closure of Craigflower bridge likely

Jan 26 2012

A six-month shutdown of the Craigflower bridge is almost certain with Saanich council expected to agree to an intensive construction schedule to replace it.

Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard said his council will likely support the complete closing of the bridge instead of an 18-month schedule that would keep traffic flowing with limited access.

Leonard’s comments follow a decision by neighbouring View Royal council to go with the six-month plan.

The bridge, owned by both communities, is part of the Admirals Road Corridor Improvement Project, which will be funded by a $10-million grant from federal gas taxes. Both sides will also pay for road improvements involving the bridge.

“I would anticipate we’re at the point where there’s a general consensus for a shorter period of time,” said Leonard.

“Our staff has worked with View Royal staff to come up with a similar recommendation.”

The recommendations are in line with feedback from the public.

About 300 residents attended a joint open house in December, with the majority of people wanting intensive construction.

Both communities have agreed to a three-lane bridge with bike lanes and wider sidewalks. Barriers will separate vehicles from cyclists and pedestrians.

An 18-month construction schedule with limited vehicle access poses the risk of taking even longer to build, which could result in budget increases reaching 25 to 30 per cent, according to a report by Deb Becelaere, superintendent of engineering for View Royal.

The Craigflower bridge is an important commuter link, particularly for people travelling from View Royal and Saanich accessing CFB Esquimalt or downtown Victoria.

On average, about 18,000 vehicles, including 1,500 trucks, use the bridge daily.

Bridge planners are considering manufacturing sections off-site and establishing longer working hours to keep within the six-month time frame, Becelaere wrote.

Her report estimates that the final design will be completed in April, with construction starting in June.

View Royal is still considering whether the bridge would maintain a temporary pedestrian crossing during construction, Mayor Graham Hill said.

Saanich council will discuss the bridge construction schedule at their Feb. 6 meeting, Leonard said.


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