After about a decade in the planning, the Syme Bridge in Silver Creek is getting replaced at an estimated cost of more than $600,000.
On Dec. 8, council voted to amend the 2014-2018 financial plan to include additional funding of $195,000 for the Syme Bridge Construction Project. It will make up part of a $572,127 bid awarded to IOTA Construction Ltd. Engineering fees are an additional $50,000, making the estimated total budget $625,000.
The bridge is on 70th Avenue SW and provides access over the Salmon River for the seven farming households on the west side of the river.
The city’s director of engineering and public works, Rob Niewenhuizen, said the project will be somewhat unique in that a temporary bridge will be brought in so emergency services will have access, instead of installing a pedestrian bridge as was initially envisioned. Also, the new bridge will be built over the existing one, and it will be a clear span bridge with no pilings in the river bed.
A 2004 report on city bridges estimated the Syme Bridge had a life expectancy of about 10 years. Another assessment in 2013 showed the bridge “had reached the end of its useful life,” states a staff report. Load restrictions were immediately posted. A 2013 design budget of $25,000 was added, with construction planned to take place in 2014 at a cost of $420,000.
IOTA Construction’s was the lowest bid of seven, with the highest more than $1 million.
Coun. Kevin Flynn said he is used to projects coming in over budget but this was one so high.
“I find it not surprising but frustrating that the regional district wouldn’t come to the table with some kind of contribution,” he added.
Staff had estimated that four households on the west side of the bridge are in the regional district while three are within city limits.
On council’s recommendation, staff will once again see if the regional district or the province will chip in with funding.
Coun. Ken Jamieson said he was surprised at how few properties are affected, but emphasized their importance.
Mayor Nancy Cooper stated: “This has been on the to-do list for a long time; it’s got to the point it had to be done. I’m supporting it…”
Construction is scheduled to start on Jan. 12, 2015 and wrap up at the end of March.