Round two with the Beast is coming up in Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
The last of the major components for the new Johnson Street Bridge, including the 46-metre bridge deck span, will be installed starting this Saturday (Jan. 27) with the help of the Dynamic Beast, the industrial crane barge used to lower the steel rings into place in December.
Project director Jonathan Huggett, who did an independent review of the project in 2014, was asked that year by the City to take it over on an interim basis and has been at the helm ever since, admitted he feels a sense of relief to be reaching this point in the process.
“I’ll be happy when we see the bridge going up and down,” he said, noting that much work and testing remains to get the new bridge to that point.
This next stage of work will see the 470-tonne bridge deck hoisted up, rotated slowly and lowered into place Saturday. That span includes the three vehicle travel lanes, two on-street bike lanes, a pedestrian walkway and a multi-use pathway that connects with the Galloping Goose and E&N trails.
Sunday’s work will see the final piece installed, the steel roadway infill panel, which sits between the main bridge deck and the rings.
“After this coming weekend, that bridge to the untrained eye will look completed,” Huggett said.
As part of this final stage of installation, a “whole army of people with instruments” will be measuring such things as the load on the toe of the bridge deck and the stress on the steel, he added. Enough lead weight needs to be placed in the front end to ensure the deck doesn’t “bounce” when it’s lowered, Huggett explained, and it needs to come down in the same spot every time to be able to be locked into the down position.
While there is a “long list” of specifications to fine tune the operation of the bridge, the balance issue is key, he said. “We’re measuring and checking to see exactly that the load is right, but that could take three or four days. By Feb. 4 we have to lift the bridge to be able to open the marine channel, so we’re going to know pretty quickly if we’ve got a problem.”
As with the previous onsite construction work, there will be traffic and transit rerouting and closures of the existing bridge to vehicles, bikes and pedestrians through the weekend. The Beast sails into its spot in the Upper Harbour early Friday, then the current bridge is scheduled to be closed from 7 a.m. Saturday to 5 p.m. Sunday. Inclement weather, especially high winds, would delay the process.
For people hoping to watch the activity, the City suggests that the best view will be from the northeast side of the bridge near Canoe Club and Mermaid Wharf, or online on the project webcam.
During the bridge closures Victoria Harbour Ferry is providing services between the docks at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort, Victoria Regent Hotel and the Inner Harbour Causeway. The ferries will operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The fare is $2 per person for a one-way trip.
For more information, visit JohnsonStreetBridge.com.