The City of Port Alberni commenced repairs of their aging Victoria Quay bridge on Tuesday—and officials say it won’t be a repeat of the last bridge project.
“I’m confident that the works have been identified completely and that’s all we need to do,” said manager of operations Wilf Taekema.
The Victoria Quay bridge repairs are budgeted to cost the city $100,000.
“We’ll be out of there in two weeks.”
The city is repairing the 63-year-old bridge this year following an assessment of the bridge completed by Shepherd Bridge Inspection Services in July at a cost of $2,800, according to director of finance Cathy Rothwell.
The repairs will be completed by K&G Installations—the same contractors who widened the Gertrude Street bridge (where total costs were almost double the initial estimates) earlier this year but were not the ones who did the design work, said Taekema.
“They were not responsible for the design. This work is quite a bit different from the Gertrude Street bridge.
“It’s like comparing apples to oranges.”
The work on the Victoria Quay bridge will address both the deck and the underside of the bridge.
“We’re removing all of the wood debris that’s piled under and leading to the settlement of the wood piling [supports],” Taekema said. The steel support beams have pulled away from the underside of the concrete bridge, causing cracks in the bridge deck.
“We’re adding metal shims between the steel beams.”
The existing cracks will be sealed to prevent further damage to the bridge deck that accumulates every time a vehicle drives on the bridge, Taekema said.
“That cracks the deck so they’ll do an epoxy injection. It will fill in the cracks with an epoxy because once it cracks, water gets in and that’s not good.”
Taekema said that the bridge is being repaired, rather than rebuilt, now because that’s the most cost effective solution.
“It’s nearing the end of its life. If we can get [another] 5-7 years then we might have to have some more rehab and then we get another 10,” he said.
The bridge will be completely closed to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians until Sept. 20. School and regular bus routes will not be affected. Traffic will be detoured onto Gertrude Street but businesses along Victoria Quay will remain open.