Stantec engineer Paul Dudzinski inspects the underside of Craigflower Bridge

Stantec engineer Paul Dudzinski inspects the underside of Craigflower Bridge

Municipalities monitor deterioration of Craigflower Bridge

Craigflower Bridge is not falling down, but it’s being inspected routinely just to be sure.

Craigflower Bridge is not falling down, but it’s being inspected routinely just to be sure.

The bridge, which connects Saanich to View Royal at the western end of the Gorge waterway, is in a state of disrepair and needs to be replaced.

Engineers from both municipalities met with representatives from the consulting firm Stantec to inspect the wooden structure last week.

“We know it’s lasted 78 years, there’s no reason to think that this year it’d fail,” said Jim Hemstock, manager of transportation with Saanich. “But just to be certain, we’re doing a close inspection every three months to see if there’s a change in conditions.”

Bryan Gallagher, structural engineer with Stantec, checked the wooden piles and stringers that make up the base and underside of the bridge.

He struck the wood with a mallet, listening for a damp thud to see if the rot is spreading.

Below the bridge there are occasional longitudinal cracks in the stringers, which support the heavy deck – but those aren’t new.

“We flagged certain elements that needed repair or further observation … to see if they’ve deteriorated,” said Paul Dudzinski, another Stantec engineer. “But basically there hasn’t really been any changes since the last time we had a look at it.”

Saanich engineering technologist Troy McKay says the splits are likely the result of an overloaded truck that stopped on the bridge.

The weight load was probably distributed more to the back tires, he says, which, when stopped, would’ve sat directly above the now-cracked stringer.

Much of the deterioration happens below the bridge deck, but the asphalt road on top covers three inches of concrete, the original surface.

It’s now broken up and needs to be replaced.

Last year Stantec was hired to look at the feasibility of repairing and widening the bridge.

It was deemed to be in such poor condition that repairs wouldn’t be worthwhile.

Instead, the bridge – originally built in 1933 – will be replaced, with the work expected to take until the end of 2012.

The Craigflower Bridge became the responsibility of Saanich and View Royal in the late 1990s, when B.C. municipalities were being forced to take over many roadways that had been maintained by the province.

Though repairs have been made since then, Hemstock said there are inspection reports that show concern for the condition of the bridge deck dating back more than a decade.

One option, instead of replacement, was to look at enforcing load restrictions. However, that would ultimately have a negative effect on businesses.

Craigflower is a major route for commuter and truck traffic. Roughly 18,000 drivers pass over the 120-metre structure every day, including countless semi trucks for area retailers. The bridge is also one of the quickest accesses to the Esquimalt naval base.

Load restrictions may still be required, however, if the bridge starts deteriorating faster and before a new one can be built.

“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.”

What Craigflower’s replacement looks like has yet to be determined. Come September, Saanich hopes to have started public consultations on what the new bridge will look like.

The current plan, Hemstock said, is for three lanes total, plus bike lanes and pedestrian walkways on either side. They also hope to include an area where fisherman can continue catching herring.

“We know it’s an important bridge, so there could be any number of special places around it,” he said.

The area is important to local First Nations, as a former ceremonial site, as well as to the heritage community, with Craigflower Manor and schoolhouse nearby.

The bridge replacement, estimated to cost $10.2 million, will be paid for almost entirely through gas tax revenue funds allocated by the Capital Regional District.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Barriers to rental housing brought on by no-pet rules add stress to renters, says councillor. (Pixabay)
Saanich councillor wants to remove barriers to housing for pet owners

Motion calling for province to amend lease stipulations against pet ownership defeated in 5-4 vote

A sketch of the multi-use path that will connect Lagoon Beach and Royal Beach in Colwood. (Sketch courtesy of the City of Colwood)
Concepts for Colwood beach connector coming to council June 21

Major infrastructure project includes gathering places, public amenities and pathways

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Most Read