The District of Saanich says a new bridge over the Colquitz River on Wilkinson Road will open to the public on schedule, a schedule that has however already changed once.
Saanich spokesperson Kelsie McLeod said in email dated Feb. 1 that “the road will reopen to the public in the next 2-3 weeks” with a formal announcement pending following consultations with the contractor.
McLeod said this timeline means that the project remains on schedule.
“It’s important to note that the bridge is still on track to be completed in February as planned and originally communicated to the public [for several months],” she said, noting that the district “never specified an exact date.”
As with any public works project, Saanich is “always acutely aware any of impacts to public” and is doing everything possible to minimize them, said McLeod.
“We are working to open the bridge as quickly as possible and thank the public for their patience as we complete this important infrastructure project,” she said.
Work on the project began in the summer of 2016 and closed Wilkinson Road between Mann Avenue at the south end and Greenlea Drive at the north end.
The project with a total allocation of $6.5 million also includes significant enhancement to the Colquitz River Trail.
About 15,000 vehicles travel Wilkinson Road per day and the project replaces a bridge that had treated pedestrian and cycling traffic as an afterthought. The wooden sidewalks adjoining the bridge sat a few feet below the road and was the only separated lane for cyclists or pedestrians on that section of Wilkinson.
According to published reports in June 2016, Saanich had targeted November as the reopening date for the Wilkinson bridge in an effort to accommodate traffic displaced from the construction of the McKenzie Avenue interchange.
But Saanich staff announced in November that they would not able to meet the deadline of partially opening the bridge.
“The delay is a combination of a few factors, October was one of the rainier months on record, which impacted overall productivity,” said Harley Machielse, Saanich’s director of engineering, at the time.
He also told the public at the time that the bridge would reopen sometime around February, a dateline McLeod has subsequently confirmed, with a formal announcement pending.