On Friday, May 17, the Honourable Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna—Lake Country, joined City of Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin and Sean Brock, Vice President and District Manager of PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc., to officially kick off the start of construction at the Johnson Street Bridge site in downtown Victoria.
The new bridge will feature on-road bike lanes, a multi-use trail, and a pedestrian pathway, improving overall accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists and those who use mobility aids. It will also feature new plaza areas for the public to view the harbour, an improved navigation channel for marine vessels, and will be built to a lifeline seismic standard—which means it would be able to withstand an 8.5 magnitude earthquake. This is the highest standard in current bridge design code for Canada. A public art piece and new public green space are planned enhancements to the area as a result of the bridge project.
The area near the existing Johnson Street Bridge is now an active construction site. The public can expect to see more crews and equipment arriving over the coming weeks. The first of two temporary trestles will soon be built on the north side of the bridge to support cranes and equipment to build the new bridge.
The current bridge will remain open to pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles, and marine traffic until the new bridge opens to traffic in late 2015.
The new bridge will be the largest single-leaf bascule lift bridge in Canada – and one of the largest in the world – creating a new iconic structure and destination within Victoria’s Inner Harbour. A bascule bridge is a bridge that includes a lift section to provide clearance for boat traffic.
PCL Constructors Westcoast has been recruiting locally for contractors and trades positions. The Urban Development Institute estimates that construction of the new bridge will have long-term local economic benefits in excess of $500 million. This includes economic benefits from new development and overall revitalization of the area.