Craigflower Bridge is worse-off than originally thought.
Saanich and View Royal agreed to split the cost of upgrading the 77-year-old span that connects the municipalities — improving the structural stability and widening it to add bike lanes and fishing platforms. But a load assessment conducted in December found that a repaired and widened bridge wouldn’t be able to sustain estimated traffic loads for longer than 15 years, unless traffic restrictions are put in place.
“If we’re putting more structure on it — wider lanes — loads will be greater. And the harder we looked at it, the worse it got,” said Jim Hemstock, Saanich’s manager of transportation. Craigflower Bridge currently carries an estimated 18,000 vehicles a day.
Putting load restrictions on the bridge would impact on businesses relying on heavy vehicles to travel across the bridge, Hemstock said.
That leaves the option of replacement, but a new bridge isn’t cheap.
Hemstock estimates the cost, including approach roads and upgrades on both the Saanich and View Royal sides, at $10.2 million. A new bridge would last 75 to 100 years.
The Capital Regional District has $18 million of gas tax funds to spend on regional projects. Saanich council on Tuesday endorsed supporting a joint application with the Town of View Royal requesting funding for the new bridge project.
“It’s got everything. It’s proposed to be an important bus route in the new transit master plan, it’s on the CRD cycling route, it’s a truck route, it serves the base. It really is a regional project,” Hemstock said.
View Royal council has not yet considered the motion to ask the CRD to help fund the bridge replacement, but Mayor Graham Hill said looking for shared funding opportunities was something the Town would encourage.
“I’d also hope we could look to the province for possible grants,” Hill said.
—with files from Sam Van Schie