Red grouting binds the Johnson Street Bridge’s South ring together. Grouting finished last week and now the ring is ready for installation. (Photo courtesy City of Victoria)

On-site installation begins early next month for Victoria bridge project

Project manager says construction is on track for March 2018 completion

The Johnson Street Bridge will begin taking shape early next month, depending on the availability of a massive crane known as the “Dynamic Beast.”

Project manager Jonathan Huggett presented a quarterly update to council on Thursday, placing the bridge’s progress on schedule for the March 2018 completion date after many delays. The project has cost $92.8 million as of the end of September and by February or March safety inspections will begin, including an independent safety audit.

Huggett expects that as early as Nov. 10, the north and south rings could begin moving into place at the new bridge’s location.

But the Beast, a giant crane capable of lifting 900 tons and owned by Dynamic Heavy Lift Ltd., has a tight booking schedule, he added. Currently in the Port of Vancouver, the crane sits on a barge 330 feet long and 120 ft. wide, leaving only 10 feet on either side to manoeuvre in the narrowest part of the waterway.

Once they are moved into place, each ring will be placed on the falsework, then bolted to each counterweight and aligned.

The latest job completed was the grouting on the south ring. Huggett brought a sample of the red epoxy grout that was poured into holes in the side of the ring, which is now hardened and “set like a rock.”

“You’ll probably appreciate it when you feel it, that this looks nothing like the grout you put behind the wash basin with the tiles. That grout’s life span will likely last longer than the bridge,” Huggett said.

The grout helps ensure all the parts are perfectly aligned, spreads the weight across the structure and absorbs vibration.

Referring to the costs of the bridge, Coun. Geoff Young voiced concern that Huggett had not given an estimate for the fendering. Huggett said he had been given several figures but rejected each of them because they were too expensive.

“I’m worried that you’ve not told us about cost estimates that you’ve rejected,” Young said. “The public needs to know the bad news … ”

The project is on track to be ready for public use by March 31, 2018.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

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