Illustration of the new Johnson Street Bridge, which will have the final major components installed this weekend. Courtesy of the City of Victoria

EDITORIAL: Optimism around Victoria bridge, pessimism as well

As Johnson Street Bridge project nears completion, how will taxpayers judge this council?

The last time the Johnson Street Bridge was shut down for the weekend for major construction on the new bridge, the spectacle drew large crowds of curious onlookers.

This weekend promises to feature more of the same as the final large components, including the bridge deck, are installed with the help of the Dynamic Beast crane barge used to lower the massive ring assemblies into place in December.

While not everyone views these closing months of the project with a sense of excitement, the fact it is nearing completion after years of delays and an ever-ballooning budget gives those who have watched and waited a reason for optimism. The new bridge will create a whole new look for Victoria’s Inner Harbour and be a more suitable icon for our city in the 21st century.

On the other hand, this project started out with a budget of $63 million and will wind up costing more than $105 million – and be completed three years later than planned. Such a discrepancy and added burden on taxpayers will no doubt lead some voters to rethink their choices come this fall’s civic election.

The bridge project began under the previous regime, with many senior staffers who have since left the City. True, most of the current council members were part of the last group. But some of the difficult budgetary decisions required in the past three years were made with the City left in a lurch by suppliers who weren’t as up to the task as first thought. It leads one to wonder whether those forced choices might have been avoided were different ones made at the project’s outset.

Such discussions may well be water under the bridge with no way to go backward, but questions will continue to be asked after the project is completed in late March – the most recent estimate for the bridge’s opening.

Nevertheless, we’re looking forward to seeing the bridge finished and will be marvelling with the rest of the public this weekend as the Beast works its magic.

Just Posted

Victoria Women’s Expo showcases the latest trends

Over 100 vendors feature lots of beauty, health, food, jewelry products and more

Mount Douglas Mathletes enjoying success by the numbers

Saanich Grade 9s walk away with top five spots in Island math competition

Hillside Avenue death ruled a homicide, police say

No charges have yet been laid in the killing of Victoria man Joe Gauthier

Hope gets eight year sentence for Church Avenue sex assault

Eight years is the sentence for David Robert Hope, who was found… Continue reading

Short-term rental market up for changes April 1 in Victoria

Bylaw amendments hike fees, require homeowner’s presence

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

B.C. man to plead guilty in connection with hit-and-run that killed teen

Jason Gourlay charged with failure to stop at the scene of accident, attempting to obstruct justice

EDITORIAL: Lowered voting age only a matter of time

The B.C. Green Party leader has reignited an age-old question in the… Continue reading

Saanich Talks event kicks off Local Area Plan updates

Updates on plans for Cadboro Bay and Cordova Bay the focus of Wednesday meeting at UVic

Braves trim Bucs to fend off elimination

Game 7 of VIJHL playoff series goes Sunday night in Nanaimo

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for B.C. SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

Lilia Zaharieva wants to share her medical good fortune

UVic student wants treatment for cystic fibrosis made available for all

Canadian survivors, supporters rally against proposed ’60s Scoop settlement

Some have accused the government of underestimating the number of survivors

Nordic athlete Arendz to be Canada’s flagbearer at Paralympic closing ceremony

The biathlete and cross-country skier from Hartsville has raced to five medals in Pyeongchang

Most Read