The Bruhn Bridge, where the Trans-Canada Highway crosses the Sicamous Channel. (File photo)

The Bruhn Bridge, where the Trans-Canada Highway crosses the Sicamous Channel. (File photo)

Cyclist and driver safety noted as priorities for Shuswap highway bridge

Design approved in 2018 has been altered to change intersection and pedestrian use

Representatives from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure clarified some of the finer points of their plans for the replacement of the RW Bruhn bridge.

Speaking to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) board of directors at their March 18 meeting, ministry staff provided reasons for selecting a single, four-lane bridge rather than the five lane span selected at the end of public consultation in 2018 to replace the current Highway 1 structure in Sicamous, and also elaborated on some of the project’s fine details.

The presentation was led by Jennifer Stites, the ministry’s project manager working on the replacement of the bridge. Stites described the ways the project has changed since the original design was selected following the consultation. Along with designing the project around a four-lane bridge, access to Old Spallumcheen Road will now be routed through an underpass west of the existing intersection.

Stites told the board that moving the access to its planned location and setting it up in a way that will no longer require vehicles to turn left across traffic will make access to Old Spallumcheen safer. She said the four-lane bridge was also selected because its construction will disturb the ground less in an area which is historically and culturally significant to local First Nations, and because the existing bridge will be able to stay open as the new one is built.

Read More: Free programs fuel goal to keep Salmon Arm seniors moving

Read More: WATCH: Man speed-flies over South Okanagan lake in stunning video

Also covered in Stites’ presentation is the multi-use pathway which will run from Gill Avenue to Old Spallumcheen Road via a three-metre wide walkway along the bridge’s eastbound lane. The path will be separated from highway traffic by a concrete barrier and a wide paved shoulder. Stites said questions had been raised about why the barrier would not be taller. She said the barrier’s height and lack of railing are considered optimal because it makes it possible for cyclists riding down the shoulder of the road to escape onto the path if they have to avoid a collision. She said taller barriers or railings are used in situations where cyclists are not able to ride on the shoulder.

Stites showed an early draft of the ministry’s plan to link the path over the bridge with the Sicamous to Armstrong Rail Trail that is currently under construction. The early plans, which Stites said are contingent on an archaeological assessment of the area south of the new bridge, will incorporate part of the existing Old Spallumcheen Road into a multi-use pathway. The proposed path would join the rail trail after descending the hill with a series of switchbacks. Stites said the path would have approximately an eight per cent grade, making the descent manageable for users.

Read More: COVID-19: Health officials give timetable for vaccinating all B.C. adults by July

Read More: Gabriola Island residents come to terms with work-site deaths of well-known community members

Following the presentation, CSRD Electoral Area E director Rhona Martin said the construction of a new bridge was a rare opportunity to make an aesthetically pleasing gateway to the area and asked what was being done to enhance the look of the structure. Stites said aesthetic concerns were one of the things being discussed with Splatsin and the incorporation of indigenous culture and artwork is being considered.

Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz repeated his previous advocacy for the creation of a new access point to Sicamous downtown area at Silver Sands Road. He said he recognizes the project is complicated and is glad it is proceeding. Stites replied that the Silver Sands expansion is on their radar but the ministry would need to receive a formal application for the new highway access before they can proceed with designing it.

The project is not expected to be complete until 2025.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

infrastructure

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oliver Fire Department. (Submitted photo)
Football-field-sized wildfire scorches hill above Osoyoos Lake

The department also responded to another fire along the hike and bike trail on the weekend

Prospera Place in Kelowna. (Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
Kelowna Rockets return to the ice after COVID-19 quarantine

All individuals within the team cohort tested negative for COVID-19 earlier this week

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
Man arrested in West Kelowna for stealing police bait car

The suspect has been identified as Raymond Francis Thiffault of Kamloops, who already had an outstanding Canada-wide warrant.

Rose Valley Elementary School. (Contributed)
Central Okanagan School sees second COVID-19 exposure in two days

An exposure was identified at Rose Valley Elementary on April 12 and 13

(Natalia Cuevas-Huaico - Kelowna Capital News)
Arlene Howe holds up a picture of her son, Steven, at a memorial event for drug overdose victims and their families at Kelowna’s Rotary Beach Park on April 14. Steven died of an overdose at the age of 32 on Jan. 31, 2015. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
Moms Stop the Harm members placed crosses Wednesday morning, April 14, on Rotary Beach in memory of children lost to drug overdoses. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Kelowna mothers remember children lost to the opioid crisis

It has been five years since illicit drug deaths was announced a public health emergency

desert hills estate winery grapes
Osoyoos winery back in business after clean bill of health

Desert Hills chose to temporarily close after a close contact tested positive for COVID

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
WATCH: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among the encouraged ventilation measures

Hikers are still able to climb to the top of Giant’s Head Mountain in Summerland, but the paved road to the upper parking lot will be closed from 7 a.m. to noon and all day on Sundays. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland park partially closed to vehicle traffic

Giant’s Head Mountain Park gates will be closed to cars until noon

Young cyclists from Quebec have not been riding single file on Naramata’s narrow and windy roads, causing the ire of locals worried for their safety and theirs. (Dan Moskaluk)
Quebec cyclists bad road behaviour causing stir in Penticton

The young cycling group illegally riding two-abreast on Naramata’s narrow roads

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

MP Todd Doherty took to Facebook after his family recently received threats. (Todd Doherty, MP Facebook photo)
‘I don’t run and I don’t hide’: Cariboo MP says RCMP probing threats made against family

Todd Doherty has also notified House of Commons Protective Services

Two men walk past a sign on Main Street in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calls for government transparency in COVID data continue as B.C.’s 3rd wave wears on

Social media, where both information and misinformation can spread like wildfire, has not helped

Most Read