Next week, the 5th Street Bridge Project will kick off as the work required to preserve and extend the life of the bridge begins.
The 60-year-old bridge is coated in lead paint that must be removed to address corrosion within the steel. To protect the surrounding environment, the bridge will need to be scaffolded and wrapped to prevent lead paint and other contaminants from entering the Courtenay River. The scaffolding will narrow the vehicle travelling lanes, reducing available lane width and height.
This will result in delays and detours if you drive, walk, cycle or take transit.
On Thursday, April 15, traffic will begin to be impacted as detour routes and signage are installed. The bridge will be reduced to single lane traffic in alternating directions in the coming days. Construction is expected to last for approximately six months.
What commuters should expect during construction
•Existing lanes on the east and west sides of the bridge will be adjusted to create dedicated priority vehicle lanes for transit and emergency services.
•Vehicles over three metres in height will not be able to cross the bridge for the duration of construction.
•Temporary walkways will be constructed on both the north and south sides of the bridge for people who walk or cycle. Cyclists using these walkways will need to dismount and walk their bikes. Cyclists may also use the priority vehicle lane and ride across the bridge.
•In the coming days, the underpasses at both ends will be closed. Originally, it was anticipated the underpass between Lewis and Simms parks could remain open to people on foot or bike, but following further analysis, it was determined that it will need to be closed to ensure the safety of the public.
To reduce the volume of cars crossing the bridge and to provide additional options for commuters, two new Park and Ride locations will be in place once work on the bridge begins:
•721 Grant Ave. – access off 700-block Harmston or Grant avenues;
•Comox Valley Aquatic Centre – 377 Lerwick Rd.
The 5th Street Bridge Project will result in changes to Comox Valley Regional Transit routing and schedules. For more information, service updates and alerts, visit bctransit.com/comox-valley
The $6.5 million investment is being made by the City of Courtenay with support from the provincial and federal governments.