Courtenay council has a number of options to consider when it comes to the Fifth Street Bridge. Deck repairs and recoating would cost about $6.3 million — $3.4 million more than originally estimated, as per cost sharing between the City, Province and federal government. Adding bike paths would add another $1.4 million to the cost. Building a pedestrian bridge on Sixth, along with rehabilitation of the Fifth Street Bridge, would exceed $10 million. Building a new bridge would cost about $20 million, according to consultant Urban Systems.
A few years ago, the previous council approved recoating as a preferred project to receive government funds. Recoating would potentially extend the life of the bridge another 50 years, according to City staff.
Last year, senior governments awarded the City nearly $2 million towards rehabilitation of the bridge, which was constructed in 1960. The proposal included repainting (including removal of old lead-based paint), repairs to structural steel and handrails, and bridge deck resurfacing.
“Planning for a project of this magnitude can typically take a year or more,” the City said in a statement. “Planning work for the bridge was ongoing for much of 2018.”
The City notes that updated cost estimates were obtained based on similar projects underway on Vancouver Island.
While an original agreement indicated construction would be complete by March 2020, the City is working with federal funding partners to extend the deadline.
As for the proposed Sixth Street Pedestrian Bridge, council passed a motion in 2015 declaring support in principle for the project. The idea was to build a timber-framed bridge linking downtown with Simms Park. A project steering committee had given the City a $17,000 deposit towards building the bridge. The City says the committee used the funds to pay for design and miscellaneous expenses. For the time being, the project has gone dormant.