Due to much-needed structural upgrades on the Fifth Street Bridge, traffic will be disrupted for three to four weeks, with the first taste for drivers starting Wednesday.
Much of the $250,000 structural upgrade job will happen underneath the bridge but the work on the bridge deck means traffic will be one-way only, according to City director of operational services Kevin Lagan.
A bit of preliminary deck work is scheduled Aug. 15 between 9 and 11 a.m., but the bulk of the traffic disruption will happen starting about Aug. 20. During the deck work, traffic will become one way only.
“We will allow traffic wanting to come into town and not go back over the bridge between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and that is to ensure that we continue to feed traffic toward the west of the city and not the east,” Lagan told Courtenay council Tuesday, adding the deck work is expected to take three to four weeks to complete.
Motorists travelling east across the Courtenay River can use the 17th Street Bridge between these hours, and all motorists are urged to use the 17th Street Bridge whenever possible during these hours.
“It’s going to be fairly tight when we cut the bridge to one lane of traffic only … we didn’t want to do overnight work or late-night work because of the residents nearby,” Lagan explained.
The City worked with McElhanney Engineering and Mainroad South Island Contracting to develop a traffic management plan to minimize the disruption to the public during the project. City staff also spoke to other interested parties like emergency vehicle operators and the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association.
Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to use the bridge. However, cyclists will be directed onto the sidewalk of the bridge, rather than using the deck, due to the space restrictions from vehicle traffic.
Crews will replace deck expansion joints and applying a corrosion-resistant coating to the underside of the bridge. The project will also replace damaged concrete, increase the skid resistance by roughening the existing surface, and seal the bridge deck.
All work is expected to wrap up by the week of Sept. 10.
This work does not include repainting the bridge because the City is awaiting word on a $1.75-million grant application it sent in the Province for recoating of the bridge.
However, this structural work will prepare the bridge for repainting, and when that’s finished the life of the bridge will be extended 20 to 50 years from now.
According to Lagan, 20,000 to 25,000 vehicles use the bridge each day.
For more information, call the City of Courtenay engineering division at 250-334-4441 or e-mail email@example.com.