Construction on the Craigflower Bridge will begin earlier than expected, as crews are slated to begin work on a pedestrian walkway in April.
The 80-year-old, timber-beam span is slated to be replaced by three-lane steel bridge, double the width of the existing bridge. Construction was originally set for June, but that work will now commence in the spring.
While Admiral’s Road will be closed for seven months, Saanich and View Royal, which share responsibility of the bridge, needed to find a way to get pedestrians across the Gorge Waterway.
The construction tender will be released later this month, and the municipalities aim to have a building contract awarded by late February.
Jim Hemstock, Saanich’s manager of capital works, says included in the tender are plans for a temporary walkway over the Gorge Waterway.
“We have to do the pedestrian bridge first. Now that we’re closing the road during a school year, we’ve got to get that pedestrian bridge up (before the old bridge comes down). We could start on the pedestrian bridge in April,” he said.
The cost of the project is now estimated at $11.9 million, up from the original price tag of $10.775 million.
Hemstock says that’s because the project received an additional $775,000 grant from the Capital Regional District, on top of a previously approved $10 million gas tax injection.
“We had to keep the difference that we had tacked on initially because there’s certain costs that aren’t eligible (to be paid for by the grant money),” he said. “It won’t cover staff costs, land purchases, that kind of thing. So the grant is $10.775 million and the balance is going to cover ineligible costs.”
Saanich and View Royal will split the outstanding $1.125 million bill, with Saanich footing 60 per cent of it, about $675,000. That’s $200,000 more that Saanich will pay than originally estimated.
View Royal is committed to cover the other 40 per cent, about $450,000, which is about $170,000 more than originally budgeted.
Hemstock reiterated that the numbers are just estimates right now, and nothing will be concrete until the contract is awarded.