Work on replacing the Craigflower Bridge will begin this spring, meaning a six- to seven-month detour for many motorists.
Construction tenders on the $11.9-million bridge and its approaches, as well for rebuilding Admirals from Gorge Road north to Cowper Street, are to be issued within weeks, said Jim Hemstock, Saanich’s manager of capital works.
Work on the bridge — a joint project of Saanich and View Royal — is expected to begin in April, but the dates it will be closed to vehicle traffic will fall largely to the contractor.
The two municipalities hope a temporary pedestrian bridge will be built to allow students access to nearby Craigflower Elementary School. That work would likely begin in April.
“We made a commitment to get the kids to school,” Hemstock said.
The main project is expected to begin in earnest in May. The contractor will be given a target of reopening the bridge and road by Dec. 1, Hemstock said.
The road’s closing will have a significant impact on traffic, but the municipality does have some idea of where it will go.
“We closed Admirals Road in 2009 when we built the bridge over Colquitz, so we have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen,” Hemstock said. “About 80 per cent of the folks will have to go over to Tillicum and about 20 percent will go the other way over toward Helmcken or Six Mile.”
After polling residents and businesses, both View Royal and Saanich decided to close Admirals Road between Island Highway/ Craigflower Road and Gorge Road during construction rather than leaving the road open to intermittent traffic over a 18-month construction period.
“The merchants preferred [spring and summer] as opposed to winter construction,” said Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard.
All but $1.12 million of the bridge project is being covered through federal gas tax grants. View Royal is paying about $310,000 while Saanich contributes the balance of about $810,000, Hemstock said.
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