Johnson Street Bridge closed this weekend for assembly of its replacement

The Johnson Street Bridge will be closed to traffic for a good part of the weekend as the final components of the new bridge are lifted into place.

It’s the last major closure needed to facilitate construction, said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

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Plans are weather-dependent, but the schedule calls for the existing bridge to be closed to all traffic from 7 a.m. Saturday until about 5 p.m. Sunday while spans and decking are installed.

On Saturday, the massive crane barge Dynamic Beast will lift and place the 46-metre-long bridge deck span. It includes the three vehicle travel lanes, two on-street bike lanes, a pedestrian walkway and a multi-use pathway that connects with the Galloping Goose and E&N trails.

On Sunday, the giant crane will lift the steel roadway infill panel into place. The panel sits between the main bridge deck span and the lifting rings, completing the entire bridge deck.

During the work, the existing Johnson Street Bridge will be closed to pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. The crane barge will be parked directly under the existing bridge, which will remain in the up position until all pieces are placed. Areas near the approaches to the bridge will also be closed for safety reasons.

The marine channel will remain closed until Feb. 4 because barges will be in the channel during work to attach the bridge deck span to the rings. Once the span has been secured to the rings, the first test lift of the new bridge will take place.

Helps said she is confident it will work as designed.

“I’m confident it will go up and down. I’m confident it’s going to last 100 years. I’m confident that we’re getting the bridge we paid for and I’m confident that the public will be very happy when this bridge is open and we can simply drive and walk and bike across it, and stop talking about it.”

During the closure, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers will be detoured to the Bay Street Bridge.

Victoria Harbour Ferry will provide ferry services during the closure between the Delta Hotel, Regent Hotel and causeway docks. The ferries will operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The fare is $2 per person for a one-way trip.

City staff say that the best view of the construction will be from the northeast side of the bridge near the Canoe Club and Mermaid Wharf. The work can also be watched online from the project webcam at johnsonstreetbridge.com.

While the new bridge will look complete, it is not expected to be open to the public until the end of March to allow for tests of the mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems.

Closure schedule:

Friday

• The Dynamic Beast crane barge will pass under the current bridge into the Upper Harbour early in the day.

• From approximately noon onward, the marine channel will be closed to marine traffic as large concrete girders that will become the roadway deck that spans across the bascule pier are loaded onto a barge.

Saturday

• The existing Johnson Street Bridge will be raised into the up position at 7 a.m. and will be closed to all pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

• The Dynamic Beast crane barge will be positioned under the existing bridge and will lift and place the new bridge deck span.

Sunday

• The Dynamic Beast will lift the steel roadway infill panel into place. Once that’s completed, it will depart. The existing bridge will be reopened to pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

Do you have a special memory or photo of the Johnson Street Bridge? We’re compiling stories and images for a special feature to mark the opening of the new bridge. Email localnews@timescolonist.com with the subject line “Bridge.”

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