View Royal, Saanich consider final design
The new look for Craigflower bridge is being considered by View Royal and Saanich councils this week.
The final proposed design is a combination of two bridge styles presented at an open house in View Royal last month. It incorporates the arched steel base and aligns the roadways at a slight curve to allow wider bike lanes and more amenity space on the downriver side of the bridge surface.
“The level of feedback we received has been excellent,” said Saanich transportation manager Jim Hemstock, noting that 300 people attended the open last month and many more have emailed their thoughts on the design.
“This is a highly visible bridge in a predominant location. People want it to look good.”
If both councils approve the design, the busy bridge will carry three lanes of traffic, estimated at about 18,000 vehicles per day. Concrete barriers will separate two-metre wide cycling lanes and concrete sidewalks on each side of the street.
The bridge will have an additional platform at the centre of the downstream side, which could be used for herring fishing or as a viewing platform with seating.
“I’d like to see someone selling hot dogs there,” Hemstock remarked.
Lampposts will run along the bridge to illuminate the vehicle lanes, and bike lanes will be brightened by lights embedded in the concrete barrier.
The design doesn’t incorporate wood from the current bridge, which had been suggested for use on the sidewalk.
Hemstock said the public wasn’t big on the idea because a wood surface would be bumpy for people in wheelchairs or pushing strollers. It’s also more expensive to maintain.
“We’re still going to keep the beams (from the current bridge) to incorporate into something — maybe a bench or the railing,” he said.
A second public open house will be scheduled next month to work out those finer design details and to brainstorm ways to reduce the impact of construction.
Hemstock said nearly everyone he’s spoken to agrees the bridge should be shut down completely for six months during construction, rather than spending about $2 million to keep a single lane open and causing the project to last 18 months.
The bridge could be open in as little as three months if construction crews work around the clock.
While the bridge is closed, traffic will have to detour to Tillicum or Helmcken roads to cross the Gorge Waterway. For pedestrians, and school children in particular, there’s talk of providing a water taxi during construction.
The design concept and construction schedule was considered by View Royal council yesterday (Jan. 17, after this paper went to press) and will go to Saanich council Jan. 23. Work is expected to commence in June.
Replacing the nearly 80-year-old Craigflower bridge with the proposed span is estimated to cost $10.8 million, of which $10 million will be paid through gas tax funds allocated by the Capital Regional District. Sannich will cover 60 per cent of the remaining bill and View Royal, because it’s smaller, will contribute the remaining 40 per cent.
Updates on the project are available at www.saanich.ca/services/roads/craigflower.html. Feedback on the designs can be emailed to email@example.com.