Bids will be accepted until December from companies interested in building the Penticton Indian Band’s new bridge across the Okanagan River channel.
Construction of the five-lane crossing at Green Avenue will be managed by Kelowna-based engineering firm TRUE Consulting, according to tender documents.
“We’re hoping to start (construction) in January, if things go our way,” said Chief Jonathan Kruger of the Penticton Indian Band, which initiated the project to open up access to locatee lands slated for retail development.
“It took a lot of work to get here, and we’re finally at a point where we can tender it out and hoping the bridge can be built in 2015,” he said.
The bridge is intended to provide access to a proposed commercial development on the west side of the Okanagan River channel.
Kruger said he’s been told five anchor tenants have already been secured for the so-called Channel Crossing project, which is being overseen by Vancouver-based Property Development Group.
PDG did not respond to requests for comment, but site plans posted on the company’s website show the first phase of development is expected to cover five hectares with up to 13 buildings of varying sizes and 720 parking stalls.
“Targeted uses include a dollar store, arts and crafts, electronics, pet food, furniture, clothing and restaurants,” the plan states.
The chief said the PIB is working on a separate high-level conceptual plan for all of the river channel frontage belonging to locatee owners that he hopes will spark even more interest from developers.
“The beautiful thing about the whole river channel lands is it’s prime real estate for really easy development. It’s going to attract a lot of people as soon as we build the bridge,” he said.
“In the next little while when this bridge project starts to happen, it’s going to generate a lot of good things for the City of Penticton and the Penticton Indian Band and the locatees — and the whole South Okanagan.”
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada announced in July it will contribute $2.4 million to construction of the bridge, which is expected to open up access to 60 hectares of land for development.
According to the tender documents, the bridge will be approximately 40 metres in length and rest on 26-metre steel pilings. The build will also require 24,000 square metres of paving, plus installation of a traffic light on Highway 97 at Green Avenue, an advance warning flasher and highway lighting.
Bids will be accepted until Dec. 2.