Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)

B.C.’s backroad bridges being built better, forest watchdog says

Investigation finds fewer unsafe culverts and crossings

A three-year investigation bridges and culvert crossings on B.C. natural resource roads has shown significant improvement since a 2014 survey, the B.C. Forest Practices Board says.

The independent forest industry group looked at 269 bridges and 59 wood-box culverts built as forest service roads, and found five per cent had significant safety issues.

“In 2014, 15 per cent of bridges had safety issues,” the board says in its follow-up report released April 30. “Nineteen bridges were not safe and sound and investigators had significant safety concerns with a further 13 bridges. In 2019, five per cent of bridges had safety issues – four were unsafe, and investigators had significant safety concerns with nine others.

“While this improvement is commendable, it’s important to keep in mind that these structures are all less than three years old. The board and the public expects that all new structures are safe and sound for use.”

The inspections were done in the summer and fall of 2019, looking at bridges and wood-box culverts constructed since January 2017 in the Skeena Stikine, Selkirk, Sea to Sky, North Island-Central Coast and Mackenzie natural resource districts.

RELATED: B.C. suspends stumpage payments in COVID-19 crisis

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@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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