The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) met with the residents and interested parties of the Quick/Round Lake areas at the Round Lake Hall on October 19th. Ministry representatives included:
Mike Lorimer (District Manager)
Ed Cienciala (Bridge Engineer)
Carl Lutz (Operations Manager)
Trish Mazuch (Bridge Area Manager) Billabong Road and Bridge Maintenance
Dan Beaulac (Operations Manager)
The Quick Bridge was constructed in 1921 and is a wooden Howe Truss structure. The ministry has maintained the structure on a continual basis with signification repairs in the 1990’s and 2004. However, there is still an 8 tonne load restriction on the bridge. In 2008, the ministry hired Dean Barlow with Allnorth Engineering to assess the condition of the structure. He is a leading provincial expert on Howe Trusses and recently completed the innovative removal of a similar structure on the Adams River near Salmon Arm. His assessment recommended approximately $300,000 in repairs in addition to identifying concerns with the bottom chord of the bridge which is a major structural component of the bridge. There is extensive rot in the wood that makes up the bottom chord. At one point, these types of bridges were relatively common throughout the province, but the ministry has been working to replace these aging structures with new reliable structures. Based on the condition assessment of the Quick Bridge, the ministry has undertaken engineering work to identify options for this bridge. Replacement of the bottom chord is the only option to maintain the structural integrity. Unfortunately, this is an expensive and complicated repair. In order to do this work, piles must be driven across the river to support the entire bridge structure. A conservative estimate is over 80 piles. The bridge would then have to be jacked up from these piles and the chords could be replaced. This is a complicated process and it has some significant environmental impacts with the extensive pile driving. The end product is still an old wooden structure that will continue to require ongoing maintenance of the wood bridge components. The ministry attempted a similar repair on the Chehalis Bridge in southern B.C. This structure was 180’ in length and the costs to date are over $1,500,000. This bridge will likely still require replacement in about 10 years. Based on this experience, the 300’ Quick Bridge would likely be in the neighbourhood of $2,500,000 plus the $300,000 worth of repairs recommended by Dean Barlow. With all other costs (i.e. engineering), the repair of the Quick Bridge would be over $3,000,000. The ministry has looked at options for replacement and is still working on detailed engineering assessments. At this time, the preferred option is to remove the Quick Bridge and replace it with a steel/concrete single lane structure. This structure would use the existing bridge approach and piers. The current estimate for this replacement is approximately $1,500,000. This is a savings of over $1,500,000 which allows the ministry to invest these funds to improve other structures within the district. The new bridge would have an increased load rating. However, there are constraints with the bridge approaches and the Quick Station Road with regards to load capacity. The ministry would likely continue to restrict the bridge to levels below those necessary for loaded logging trucks. This would minimize changes to the traffic type and volume through the community. These details will be finalized and presented to the community prior to any decisions regarding the project. The final decision is not made and the ministry is working to ensure that the community continues to have a reliable and safe crossing across the Bulkley River. This is a chance to replace the structure as a proactive measure and to integrate local community input into the project. We appreciate your input and comments can be sent by e-mail to Mike.Lorimer@gov.bc.ca or by mail to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Bag 5000, Smithers, B.C. V0J 2N0.