If work on the bridge replacement project continues as planned, drivers can expect to be crossing the Eagle River using a new Solsqua-Sicamous Bridge by June.
An update delivered to Sicamous’ council at its Feb. 24 meeting by Brandon Barker from ISL Engineering suggested about 62 per cent of the project remained unfinished, leaving around three months of work to go.
The report from the engineering firm stated that pre-cast bridge girders for the new span were on site and ready for placement. There were still several inspections the bridge must pass before the completion of the project. Sicamous operations manager Joe McCulloch told council he was happy with the progress on the project and that he believed the new bridge will be finished by its May 31 deadline, and within its estimated budget.
Once the new bridge is finished, removal of the old bridge and its pilings is expected to continue until the end of 2021.
Full extraction of the old bridge’s pilings was not part of the original contract, but it is being required by Transport Canada. According to ISL’s report to council, the contractor working on the bridge replacement thinks that full removal of the old pilings can be accomplished for about $33,000.
According to Barker, removal of the old bridge piling and other in-stream works will likely have to wait until November or December 2021. The delay is because work in fish-bearing streams are only permitted by the government at certain times of year.
Construction cost for the bridge was estimated at $4,556,949. The district received a $4.5 million federal government grant in 2018. For related professional services, including engineering, the cost was estimated at $1,286,669. With some variability on the actual costs to complete the project, the final total cost is estimated to be up to $5.84 million.
Along with the federal grant, a financial report to council anticipated $720,000 would be spent from the district’s bridge reserves, as well as $449,936 from the community works fund.
Mayor Terry Rysz compared the current progress to the state of things eight or nine years ago, when it was clear the nearly 100-year-old the bridge would need to be replaced soon but no one was sure how they would pay for it.