Craigflower bridge can’t be fixed; Saanich asks CRD to help pay $10 million cost to replace the span

Craigflower Bridge is worse-off than originally thought.

A load assessment conducted in December determined a repaired and widened bridge wouldn’t be able to sustain traffic load estimates. Ultimately, even a repaired bridge won’t last 15 years unless traffic restrictions are put in place.

“If we’re putting more structure on it – wider lanes – loads will be greater. And the harder we looked at it, the worse it got,” said Jim Hemstock, Saanich’s manager of transportation. Craigflower Bridge currently carries an estimated 18,000 vehicles a day.

The downside of putting load restrictions on the 1933-built bridge are numerous, he said, including impacts on businesses relying on heavy vehicles to travel across the bridge.

But a new bridge isn’t cheap. Hemstock estimates the cost, including approach roads and upgrades on both the Saanich and View Royal sides, at $10.2 million.

The Capital Regional District has $18 million of gas tax funds to spend on regionally significant projects. Saanich council on Tuesday endorsed supporting a joint application with the Town of View Royal requesting funding for the new bridge project.

“It’s got everything. It’s proposed to be an important bus route in the new transit master plan, it’s on the CRD cycling route, it’s a truck route, it serves the base. It really is a regional project,” Hemstock said.

Stantec Consulting Ltd. was initially awarded a contract in November to fix the bridge, but work was suspended after it was determined the repairs created more issues.

Hemstock estimated the repair option at $2.5 million, with a lifespan of about 15 years. A new bridge would last 75 to 100 years.

Council also endorsed a second application to the CRD asking that some of the $18 million gas tax fund be put toward sidewalk upgrades in significant pedestrian locations in Saanich. The cost of those upgrades is estimated at $10.9 million.

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