Anyone thinking that the Johnson Street Bridge is running slower than it should isn’t imagining things – in fact, the bridge has been lifting and lowering at a delayed rate for eight months.
In June, Victoria city staff were doing a routine inspection to change the filters in the bridge’s hydraulic motor system. The filter change was a regular occurrence, much like changing an oil filter in a car.
During the inspection, however, staff noticed pieces of plastic and rubber in the filters.
“That’s not a good sign,” explained Jonathan Huggett, Johnson Street Bridge project director in an emailed statement. “We shut down the bridge in June for a day while we figured it out. Eventually, after advice from experts we determined that we should lower the hydraulic pressure – the bridge opens and closes more slowly while we figured out what the problem was.”
In a contract with PCL, the company which built the bridge, it’s agreed that the bridge should take 90 seconds to open and 90 seconds to close. Instead, it’s been taking between two and three minutes to complete these tasks.
In order to remedy this issue a new, German-made filtration system will be installed into the bridge at the end of March or early April.
Huggett said he wasn’t surprised to find some issues in the $105 million project.
“[W]e expect problems with complex mechanical and electrical systems and we have a two-year warranty to cover this,” Huggett said. “This particular problem was not foreseen but no problem ever is. But it’s usual to have teething problems on any project.”
The new filtration system is covered by the PCL warranty, and will not cost the City anything. The new filters will also be under a two-year warranty.
Road traffic will not be impacted during the installation.