Craigflower Bridge replacement moving ahead

An announcement yesterday from Ottawa confirmed that $10 million of the region's federal gas tax money will be put toward replacing the 1933-built bridge and approaches.

Craigflower Bridge will be replaced.

An announcement yesterday from Ottawa confirmed that $10 million of the region’s federal gas tax money will be put toward replacing the 1933-built bridge and approaches.

“If we tried to fund our share out of our own resources it would be quite a burden on Saanich taxpayers,” said Mayor Frank Leonard of the bridge. “This is really why the federal gas tax allocation is so good for local government, because we can get to significant projects like this without burdening property taxpayers.”

A load assessment conducted last December determined a repaired and widened bridge – the original plan – wouldn’t be able to sustain traffic load estimates. A repaired bridge would last less than 15 years unless traffic restrictions are put in place on the bridge, which crosses from Saanich into View Royal.

“The two municipalities not only share borders, but share many common values, like community health and maintenance of our well-being through good economic measures,” said View Royal Mayor Graham Hill. “That all comes together in recognizing this bridge as a vital resource to our communities and to our region.”

Infrastructure Canada did not respond to multiple requests for a comment on the federal gas tax allowance.

Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong said the fund has helped B.C. communities.

“Admirals Road is a vital connector for commuters travelling throughout the Capital Regional District. A new bridge with wider lanes and bicycle and pedestrian paths will facilitate traffic flow and encourage environmentally-friendly transportation options,” said Chong. “The Gas Tax Fund is a great partnership that helps local governments upgrade and replace aging infrastructure.”

A replacement bridge is expected to be built by 2013.

kslavin@saanichnews.com