Bridge repairs begin Monday; eastbound lanes will be closed

Traffic over the Victoria St Bridge will be single-lane only beginning Monday when Emcon Services begin repairs to the superstructure.

Commuters travelling over the Trail bridge may want to leave home a little earlier for the next month or so.

Traffic over the Victoria Street Bridge will be single-lane only beginning Monday when Emcon Services begin extensive repairs to the superstructure.

Eastbound lanes will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians for the first leg of the labour intensive job, with crews on site six days a week.

“We will have the lanes barricaded with concrete guardrails, lights and signage, to make sure it stays closed,” explained Mike Prystae, Emcon’s bridge area manager. “Because when we start hammering out the joints, there will be substantial gaps.”

The project, a collaboration between Emcon and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, was pushed up the priority list this year. Problems with the bridge’s butterfly seal system have been ongoing after years of road grit and heavy trucks caused a hydraulic effect that actually pushes the seals out of their keepers, Prystae explained.

“It’s been on the books for a bit,” he said. “There’s water leaking through that does affect the bearings under the bridge. Everything underneath would be great if nothing leaked from the top. So we need to fix that before we touch anything on the bottom.”

Ten joint armours will be excavated and replaced over the two bridge spans, new seals installed and concrete re-poured.

“Once we finish the east side, we will switch lane closure to the other side,” Prystae reiterated. “The work is necessary for the preservation of the bridge bearings and it components. We plan to work six days a week and a longer work day to help prevent more delays to traffic.”

The company has recruited extra manpower to Trail so the project can meet its Oct. 16 end date.

“We have crews coming down from Quesnel,” said Prystae. “Normally just to do a half lane it takes four guys on both sides, hammering, cutting steal and pouring concrete.

“That’s four days in itself. We are hoping to get a whole two lanes and one armor done in five days. “And with two crews, maybe two armors a week. It’s a high expectation but that’s what we are shooting for.”

Project updates will be posted on DriveBC, and schools, the ambulance service and police have been notified.