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Barge's arrival begins the end of the Johnson Street Bridge

Feb 22 2012
The largest single-lift crane barge in Western Canada sits in position to start removing the rail bridge and 500 tonne counterweight from the Johnson Street Bridge. 

The largest single-lift crane barge in Western Canada sits in position to start removing the rail bridge and 500 tonne counterweight from the Johnson Street Bridge.

Photograph by: Darren Stone , timescolonist.com (Feb. 2012)

Parts of Victoria’s iconic ‘blue bridge’ will come down starting today, with the early morning arrival of the largest single-lift crane barge in Western Canada.

Measuring 100 metres long by 30 metres wide, the massive barge arrived early Wednesday morning, filling the entire navigation channel underneath the Johnson Street Bridge. That means the navigation channel is closed to marine traffic until 6 a.m. Saturday.

Today, the 500-tonne counterweight will be demolished. A plywood box has been constructed around the mass of concrete which will be destroyed by a hoe ram.

Today and Thursday, the electrical and mechanical systems will be dismantled. On Friday, the 250-tonne rail bridge will be lifted from its foundation and lowered onto the barge. That will close the bridge for about 30 minutes but city engineers have not yet said when that will happen.

The bridge was closed from midnight to 6 a.m. this morning and will be closed between midnight and 6 a.m. Saturday.

Victoria police said there were no major traffic jams.

Once the rail bridge is removed, it will go to a local business in the Upper Harbour for recycling.

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