Jim Yardley

Pedestrians remain a puzzle for Craigflower bridge project

Commuters and businesses in the Admirals Walk area are bracing for traffic woes as the deadline looms for replacing Craigflower bridge.

Commuters and businesses in the Admirals Walk area are bracing for six months of traffic woes as the deadline looms for replacing Craigflower bridge.

The aging wood-trestle bridge on Admirals Road, which funnels 18,000 vehicles per day between View Royal, Esquimalt and Saanich, is scheduled to close June 1 for six months.

Similar to the nearby Admirals Road bridge replacement three years ago, Saanich transportation planners expect traffic to disperse evenly through the nearby municipalities. Specific detour routes won’t be set up.

But increasing complications, for the first two months Saanich plans to shut down Gorge Road West from Tillicum to Admirals to traffic to replace sewer pipes.

“This is definitely more complex (than the Admirals bridge project) just from the fact we share this bridge with View Royal and we have a school there,” said Steve Holroyd, a transportation technician with Saanich. “The impact is more complex.”

Engineers are scratching their heads on how pedestrians and students will cross the Gorge waterway to access Craigflower school or View Royal businesses at Admirals Walk. Holroyd said they will need to get students to school, but also allow elderly and special needs people who might not drive access to area shops.

“If a kid gets sick how will a parent pick them up? There are a variety of issues,” Holroyd said at an open house in View Royal. “We need to accommodate school kids and heavy (pedestrian) use through the day. We haven’t 100 per cent decided how that’s going to be done.”

Overwhelming feedback from the public, parents and Craigflower school is to build a temporary – or perhaps permanent – pedestrian bridge, but that is estimated at $250,000 and would eat into a $10.7-million budget with little wiggle room.

Bridge project manager and Saanich engineer Troy McKay expects people might be allowed to cross the old bridge during the summer, and the new bridge by the fall, but the final pedestrian management plan isn’t settled. The company which wins the bridge replacement contract will need to devise a traffic management plan.

“The easiest may be a temporary bridge,” McKay said. “The worse case scenario is there would be no (pedestrian) crossing in July or August.”

Water taxis were considered but ruled out as impractical in terms of the regulatory regime to install docks. A pontoon type floating bridge was also suggested, but Transportation Canada insists the Gorge waterway be kept open to marine traffic.

Gorge Road being closed for two months caught View Royal politicians off guard. “I’m not sure that makes sense,” remarked Coun. David Screech. “Residents will be going through a lot of pain already.”

The Craigflower project isn’t expected to create the kind severe impact on traffic patterns as last year’s Island Highway Improvement Project near Four Mile hill, but nearby businesses fear customers will reflexively give a wide berth to the Craigflower and Admirals area.

Lori Lelonde, owner of Your Pet Pals in Nelson Square, lost 30 per cent of her business during the Island Highway project, and worries this year’s roadwork will shut her 15-year business down.

Customers told her roadwork and associated traffic jams kept them away, she said. If the same happens this summer, four people might lose their jobs.

“If I make it through this I’ll be surprised,” Lelonde said. “Three years ago it was the Admirals bridge, then Island Highway and now Craigflower. It’s one after another with traffic delays.”

View Royal Mayor Graham Hill agrees businesses have had it rough over the past few years.

“When we worked on Four Mile Hill, we estimated some businesses would lose 25 per cent of their daily take, turns out some lost 35 per cent,” the mayor said. “Jobs are at stake. The community has to be considered with the impacts and how to balance that out.”

Currently two lanes with narrow sidewalks, the new Craigflower bridge will be rebuilt with two northbound lanes entering View Royal and one southbound into Saanich. It will be further widened with bike lanes and generous sidewalks with the herring fishery in mind.

The 78-year-old timber trestles will be replaced with steel, although some original wood might be incorporated into aesthetic features of the bridge.

McKay said the bridge revamp project began due to the cramped sidewalks and lack of bike lanes.

“We asked what could we do to improve Craigflower bridge based on pedestrians and cyclists. The end of that is the result we have today,” McKay said. “When you deal with a new bridge you have to look at everything.”

For more on the Craigflower bridge project, www.saanich.ca/services/engineering/projects/craigflower.html. Email admiralsroad@saanich.ca for information.

 

 

Just Posted

Greater Victoria businesses lose thousands of dollars in credit card scams

Affected businesses want to spread the word to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else

Four-sailing wait at BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal

Full vessels create long waits on Friday afternoon

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Tent city campers prepare to leave Uplands Park

Vehicle access remains restricted at Cattle Point

A year in tent city: Timeline of Camp Namegans

Since September 2017, Victoria’s homeless camp has set up in more than 20 locations

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean ‘blob’ returns to B.C.’s North Coast

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Most Read