Boat traffic restricted during bridge construction.

Boat traffic restricted during bridge construction.

River closed to boat traffic on Tuesday

The waterway between the new bridge and the Columbia River Skywalk is closed today (Tuesday) for bridge construction.

The towers are up, now the actual bridge can go up.

First, the waterway between the new bridge and Columbia River Skywalk site will be closed on Tuesday, allowing crews to begin the suspension part of the build by carrying rope and cable from shore-to-shore.

The stretch of river will be closed intermittently from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. today and on specific days (not yet announced) until late May.

Restricting water access for this leg of work is required under the project’s Transport Canada permit, says city engineer Warren Proulx.

“What’s going to happen is Graham (Graham Infrastructure) is going to pull a rope and cable across the river by boat and in doing so, they are going to block the waterway,” Proulx explained. “Pulling these cables across the river, means they are going to be in the water or just above water level if we don’t warn people they could run into it, and that, of course, wouldn’t be a good situation.”

Signs will be posted at Indian Eddy Wharf and at the Beaver Creek boat launch warning people of the temporary closure.

As added security, the city has hired two boats outfitted with air horns and signage to stop anyone who may not heed the warning.

“The only way to get the cable across the river is to pull it across,” said Proulx. “It’s just for the time it takes to get this cable across the river that boats can’t pass into the area.”

Beginning early Tuesday morning, nylon rope will be dropped into a boat, taken across the water and wound up on a reel. From there, the line will be beefed up with a steel cable pulled across the water, lifted with a crane and secured across the river like a clothesline.

“Once they actually get the cable across and on both sides, they are going to lift the cable up to the towers and build the bridge from a trolley,” said Proulx. “The cable goes up, and then they attach a cage that can hold four iron workers and the hi-line cable allows them to move along, lowering and raising the cage while they work on the bridge,” he added. “The basket will have hooks to attach the items the workers need for each part. Then they return to shore, get more parts and go back out and work on the bridge from there.”