The 5th Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo

The 5th Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo

City of Courtenay awards contract for 5th Street Bridge project

The City of Courtenay has awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of the 5th Street Bridge to Park Derochie, an industry leader in bridge rehabilitation projects, specializing in blast cleaning, coatings, and scaffolding.

The project team gave a project update to Courtenay council March 1, including survey results on the future colour of the bridge. More than 2,100 people participated in the survey, with over half in favour of recoating the bridge in “classic green” over the other proposed choices of silver and matte black.

Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells said the contractor selection represents a major milestone for the project.

“We’re very pleased to have such an experienced team at the helm for the 5th Street Bridge work,” said Wells. ”Park Derochie’s project team has been working together on other projects on Vancouver Island and across Western Canada. Following a thorough evaluation of their proposal, the city determined that they offered the best combination of value and experience for the city. They have a superior understanding of what we need for this project and their expertise will be very valuable for us.”

Bridge construction is expected to start in mid-April and will continue for approximately six months. During construction, the bridge will be enclosed by scaffolding and fully wrapped to protect the marine environment while the existing lead-based paint is removed and replaced with a new coating. Vehicle traffic will be reduced to single lane alternating traffic for the duration of the project.

“Commuters who need to cross the river between East and West Courtenay will want to start thinking ahead about how they might adapt their commute once construction starts in the spring,” said Wells. “This could include things like taking alternate routes or travelling during off-peak hours. We’ll be keeping one vehicle lane open, while maintaining safe access for people who walk and cycle. It’s going to be a challenging project, and we’ll be asking our community for their patience and understanding while we complete this important work, which is necessary to protect the integrity of the bridge.”

City staff are working with the contractor on traffic management plans and will be engaging directly with stakeholders as details are fine-tuned. More information on traffic plans for all modes of transportation, including detours and alternate routes, will be shared in the coming days and weeks as these details are finalized with the contractor.

Constructed in 1960, the 5th Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. The last significant investment in the bridge, including seismic upgrading, was in 2012. Engineers specializing in bridge construction and rehabilitation have determined that upgrades are necessary to preserve its integrity and prevent deterioration. Bridge repair was strongly recommended as a cost-effective, faster, less disruptive option compared to full bridge replacement.

The project budget based on current estimates is $6.5 million. The construction contract is valued at $5.4 million. Additional costs include project management, traffic optimizations, and contingency. The project will be partially supported by $1.96 million in grants, with the remainder funded through a combination of borrowing and reserves. The budget estimate includes an additional $700,000 to keep one lane of traffic open on the bridge during construction. Brief intermittent periods of full closure may still be required at times.


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