Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells is pleading with drivers to be aware of the height of their vehicles, after several incidents of contact with scaffolding on the 5th Street Bridge.
The maximum bridge height during the current refurbishing project has been reduced from 4.6 to 3.6 metres and some drivers are not getting the message, despite ample signage at both ends of the bridge and further along the route.
Although Wells could not give an exact number of incidents, he said it’s clear the information still needs to reach some ears.
“There has been a number of these incidents – and I am just saying there’s been too many – but there have been a number of vehicles that are trying to squeeze under,” he said. “So really what we want people to do is, if you have an overheight vehicle, know how high it is, and if it’s more than 3.6 metres, or if you are not sure whether it is, take the alternate routes. Do the 17 Street Bridge, go north up Condensory Road, because we really have to keep the workers safe. As you can imagine, it’s pretty unnerving if you are working away in an enclosed environment and all of a sudden you start hearing something hitting the scaffolding.”
Wells said in addition to the safety aspect, incidents like these ultimately cause delays in the completion of the project.
“Obviously when these things happen, things have to be shut down, they have to make sure everything is safe for the workers, and if anything has to be repaired that all adds to the delay of getting this project done on time and on budget,” he said.
Wells suspects the drivers at fault are generally using the old Island Highway (19A), and thinking the 5th Street Bridge is the quickest route.
“The mentality that we want people to have is if your vehicle is overheight, or if you don’t know whether it’s overheight, take an alternate route,” he said.