Work on the Fifth Street Bridge may take longer than expected, and other work in the area will also likely affect traffic in the coming weeks.
“We’re going to have a lot of activity that’s going on, not simply the bridge, and it’s going to restrict the amount of traffic coming and going through that area,” Courtenay CAO Sandy Gray told Courtenay council Tuesday. “Everybody’s pushing hard, staff are trying to use as much flexibility to keep the bridge open and the roadways open, but the next three weeks, it’s going to be a lot of work going on there.”
Evening work on the bridge will continue next week starting Monday, but no daytime lane closures are scheduled until the following week starting Sept. 17, which will see one-way only traffic heading west over the bridge.
The 17th Street Bridge and the Condensory Bridge are alternate crossings for traffic headed east.
During the evening work — between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. — traffic will be single-lane alternating in both directions.
According to Courtenay’s manager of engineering Derek Richmond, there have been some delays, including supplies delivery and extra work that’s cropped up on the bridge deck, which could push the completion date past Sept. 20 as originally planned.
“We’re waiting for delivery of the elastomeric joints — these are the flexible couplers that connect the bridge to the bank on either side,” Richmond said in a news release from the City. “These parts are being specially fabricated in eastern U.S. for the Fifth Street Bridge, and we’re still waiting to hear what the estimated delivery date will be.”
The joint replacement work must be done in the daytime, as it’s the noisiest part of the job, added Richmond.
The release also noted issues on the bridge deck; sections of concrete are separating from the deck causing voids that must be drilled out and filled with an epoxy.
Meanwhile, work on a storm drain on the Old Island Highway near the Lewis Centre and Value Village is set to start Monday with an estimated completion date of early October.
Richmond noted the work will be performed at night as much as possible to minimize conflict with the bridge work, and traffic management plans for both projects have been designed to work in conjunction with each other. However, the storm drain work has some schedule limitations.
“The storm drain work is tide-dependent, so we’ll need to work around that,” explained Richmond. “The work is happening now because we will need to repair the pavement before the asphalt plant closes for the season.”
This work is designed to reduce drainage problems in the area.
Gray also told council the excavation portion of the Lewis Centre renovation project is happening, and while there have been no delays, there is extra traffic in the area due to fill being trucked to the job site.
Coun. Jon Ambler said the traffic congestion is an inconvenience, but the work is important.
“If we neglect the bridge, if we neglect our infrastructure to the point where it’s beyond economical repair then it’s beyond inconvenience, it’s a disaster,” said Ambler. “Having this short-term inconvenience to look after this vital piece infrastructure is a price that we all have to pay and I think that we just have to get through it.”
For more information and updates visit www.courtenay.ca or contact project engineer Ian Whitehead at 250-338-5495 or Mainroad Contracting’s 24-hour communication line at 1-877-391-7310.