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

Man struck and killed on the Pat Bay Highway

Pedestrian struck while crossing near Mount Newton X Rd in Central Saanich

Embrace Twilight with community walk in Uplands Park

Organizers promote second Uplands event Sunday

WATCH: Officers recognized at 10th anniversary of anti-impaired driving program

Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members in 2008 to the current 2,400

Joining the new wave of women in trades

Pair of Saanich residents among women joining trades

Oak Bay plans pop-up public consultation starting this week

Online survey now live at www.oakbay.ca and hard copy versions available at municipal hall

WATCH: Officers recognized at 10th anniversary of anti-impaired driving program

Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members in 2008 to the current 2,400

COLUMN: Stanley Cup playoff second-round predictions

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins continue their quest for their third straight Stanley Cup

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of April 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. seeks court ruling on new pipeline regulations

Province wants to require permits for any new bitumen transport

LIVE: TSB findings on plane crash that killed former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice

The TSB will announce its findings and the Capital News will follow.

Former child watchdog to head UBC centre on residential schools

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond to lead university’s Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre

Saanich MLA says business world prepared her for political arena

Lana Popham says the work will never end on the equality front, but each success makes it easier for the next person

Federal Green Party leader says finances were her biggest career obstacle

Elizabeth May lists her mother as her main role model

Man dead after possible attack near Vancouver casino

A 38-year-old man with ‘serious injures’ was rushed to hospital but died in surgery

Most Read