A concept image shows a four-lane replacement for the RW Bruhn Bridge towering over the nearby railway bridge across the Sicamous Channel. (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Image)

A concept image shows a four-lane replacement for the RW Bruhn Bridge towering over the nearby railway bridge across the Sicamous Channel. (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Image)

VIDEO: New Sicamous Highway 1 bridge renderings show one less lane than promised

Mayor Terry Rysz wants to see access improvements and funding for a pedestrian bridge.

According to a recent update, the replacement for the RW Bruhn Bridge along Highway 1 won’t be the five-lane structure previously chosen by the province after much public consultation.

Following a series of engagement opportunities with Sicamous residents, including a survey, open houses and a town hall meeting, through which the public provided input on three replacement options, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced in 2018 that the existing bridge would be replaced by a five-lane span.

Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz was a vocal proponent for one of the other options that included a four-lane highway bridge accompanied by a smaller one at Main Street. The plan with the Main Street bridge was endorsed by the Sicamous council at the time.

Though the project is currently in the detailed design phase, recent information released by the ministry, including videos and a Winter 2021 update, shows a four-lane structure – without the second bridge at Main Street.

A ministry representative said the most recent design was selected because it will allow for the closure of the Old Spallumcheen Road intersection at the west end of the existing bridge. The closure of the intersection will improve safety for users of the highway according to the ministry.

Regarding the change from five lanes to four, the ministry said this is to reduce the impact of the project on areasidentified as culturally or archaeologically sensitive, and will also allow the existing bridge to remain in service during construction of the new span.

The ministry anticipates construction of the bridge will take three years. Tree clearing and relocation of utilities are expected to be complete this year and the project is now expected to go to tender in 2022.

Along with information on project progress and next steps, the ministry released two videos which show a 3D rendering of the bridge and the off ramp and underpass which will be used to access Old Sicamous Road and Old Spallumcheen Road. The underpass was a feature of the five-lane design which is being carried over to the new plan.

According to the ministry, the project remains on-budget: $224.5 million in funding for the project was approved in 2018, with $91 million of the total coming from the federal government.

Mayor Terry Rysz says he thinks the ministry has made up their mind about the direction the bridge project will be taking but he wants to see some features added to it. Rysz said he wants to ensure ease of access for traffic off the highway into Sicamous’ downtown commercial areas, and easy access to the west side of the Sicamous channel.

In particular, Rysz said he and the rest of the Sicamous council would be lobbying the ministry for help in building an extension of Silver Sands Road allowing another access point for drivers to get off the highway and into town.

Since the second car bridge at Main Street was removed from the plans, Sicamous’ council has been seeking help for the construction of a pedestrian suspension bridge over the channel. Rysz said the ministry referred them to an active transportation grant program, but he estimated the cost of a suspension bridge at over $5 million and was unsure how much of the grant would cover. He said a pedestrian link across the Sicamous channel is essential to the District’s plans to serve as a gateway to the Sicamous to Armstrong Rail Trail which is under construction.

Read more:Single-bridge option chosen to replace RW Bruhn Bridge

Read more: Sicamous mayor addresses Main Street bridge misinformation

Read more: Main Street bridge won’t cost district

Read more: Opinions divided on bridge options

Read more: Public favours five-lane option to replace Bruhn Bridge

While the current plan for the highway bridge shows a walkway alongside the eastbound lane of the highway, Rysz said he has concerns about the safety of the walkway and how it will tie into the rail trail. The existing bridge has a walkway which is not separated from traffic by barricades as the one in the photo is. Two vehicle collisions in recent years have forced vehicles over the walkway only to be stopped by the bridge railing itself, damaging it in both cases.

Overall, whatever design is settled on, Rysz said it is clear that the existing highway bridge must be replaced as soon as possible.



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

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)
The Central Okanagan Food Bank said it has seen an increase in people who need help as the pandemic continues. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News/FILE)
Increase in families, seniors using Central Okanagan Food Bank as pandemic continues

Current restrictions have hit the Okanagan’s hospitality workers hard

(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, FIle)
VIDEO: Rare blood clots ‘may be linked’ to AstraZeneca vaccines, Health Canada says

One case of the adverse effect has been reported in Canada

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

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

The music video for “Green and Blue” featured a Willington Care Centre in Burnaby as well as some of the volunteers and employees. (Screenshot/Todd Richard)
‘Green and Blue’: B.C. country musician releases tribute song for front-line workers

Richard’s new single has been viewed more than 3,000 times on his YouTube channel

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

An unidentified B.C. man said, in a human rights complaint, that he was refused a contract job after refusing to wear a mask when asked to by an on-site manager. (Unsplash)
Religious B.C. man lodges human rights complaint after fired for refusing to wear a mask

Worker’s claim that ‘to cover up our face infringes on our God-given ability to breathe’ dismissed by B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

An oversight committee has been formed for an eco-village which will be constructed near Summerland’s proposed solar and battery storage project. (Black Press file photo)
Oversight committee formed for Summerland’s eco-village project

Initial meetings have been held to plan methodology

Most Read