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Craigflower Bridge fix delayed until next year

Jun 06 2012

Replacement of the aging Craigflower Bridge has been delayed a year to avoid disruptions during the Christmas season.

A joint View Royal and Saanich engineering team planned to start construction this month, but that schedule was pushed back because the federal and provincial governments had not completed necessary environmental and archeological reports for the $10.8-million project.

The next possible construction start was this winter, but that timeline would interfere significantly with neighbourhood students and nearby retailers who would see significant financial losses during the busy Christmas shopping season.

"Retailers, when given a choice, wanted construction in the summer," Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard said Tuesday. "They would prefer not to have their Christmas shopping season disrupted."

Summer and winter are the only two opportunities to start construction because of federal regulations designed to protect the Gorge Waterway.

Complete closure of the bridge, which links the two municipalities, would reduce access to portions of Admirals Road. Several businesses would feel the impact, Leonard said.

He also confirmed the environmental and archeological reports are not expected for 30 days.

"Delaying [the project] looks very good in hindsight," he said.

Federal gas tax grants of $10 million will cover the bulk of the new three-lane bridge, which will span twice as wide as the current one. Saanich and View Royal will pay for the remaining $800,000 cost.

Councillors have selected an intensive sixmonth construction schedule that closes the bridge completely, instead of a longer one that would have allowed some traffic flow.

dspalding@timescolonist.com

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