Johnson Street Bridge steel inches closer

The vessel bringing the first shipment of steel for the Johnson Street Bridge is anchored at Longview Port on the Columbia River.

The AAL Kembla left China at the end of July and is now unloading other cargo before it sets sail for B.C. from Washington state, said Jonathan Huggett, the city’s project director for the new bridge.

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“It’s due to set sail shortly. I can’t give you an exact time,” Huggett said Friday.

“We expect some time later next week the steel will be coming into Victoria Harbour. It’s all about timing and we don’t know for certain when it will leave Longview.”

The ship might land in Vancouver first and unload its cargo onto a barge in Surrey if cruise ships are blocking the way at Ogden Point.

Like the old bridge, the new one is designed to lift so that taller vessels can pass.

The first shipment includes the most important pieces of the bridge, including two big rings that are part of the lifting mechanism. Each one is 15.2 metres in diameter and weighs 300 tonnes.

It also includes the lower counterweight and falsework, which will be installed temporarily in the pier to hold the rings up during construction.

The rings will be taken to Point Hope shipyard to be washed, inspected and painted as required, Huggett said.

The span support structure — smaller pieces in a big shipping container — are scheduled to arrive in Victoria from Tianjin, China, on Tuesday. United Engineering has been hired to attach the span support structure to the rings.

Another shipment with the bascule leaf, or span, will leave Shanghai next Friday, Huggett said.

During November and December, all the components will be fixed together in place.

By December, the public will see what looks like close to a finished bridge, said Huggett.

The new bridge has a projected total cost of $105.06 million, which includes $62.9 million for construction, with the rest for such things as project management, engineering, communications and insurance.

It will be painted light grey and be lit in blue at night.

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