A driver was taken to hospital with undetermined injuries after colliding with the side of the Gertrude Street Bridge, Monday morning (July 16).
“It appears that the 65-year-old Port Alberni driver had suffered a medical event just prior to the collision,” Port Alberni RCMP Cpl. Amelia Hayden said.
The car had been traveling northbound on Gertrude Street when it suddenly veered out of the lane and into a concrete barricade and metal bridge railing. The driver, the only occupant in the car, was taken by BC Ambulance to hospital for medical treatment.
The car took out a portion of the railing in the southeast side of the cycling lane on the bridge, but did not compromise the integrity of the bridge deck, city CAO Tim Pley said.
“The weight of the vehicle hasn’t left the abutment so the bridge won’t be compromised,” he said.
The pedestrian walkways/ cycle paths on either side of the Gertrude Street Bridge are cantilevered out, and while they are reinforced underneath with steel beams, there are no pilings supporting the weight of these lanes, Pley explained. “We had to put up concrete barriers to prevent vehicles from going on that part.
“The bridge worked in this case.”
The pedestrian bridge on the east side of the bridge remains closed until repairs can be completed. The Kitsuksis Dyke walkway remains open. There were no fluid leaks from the car into the creek below, Pley added.
City director of engineering Wilf Takema said Monday it was too soon to determine cost of the repairs nor whether a design change is needed on the bridge following the nature of this accident.