Long awaited bridge fix takes first step

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has begun the process to replace the Salmon River Bridge.

There could be good news on the horizon for drivers who regularly cross the Salmon River Bridge.

After years of accidents, near-misses and complaints from local politicians and drivers, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has begun the process to replace the bridge.

The ministry has issued a Request For Qualifications on BC Bid for a 4.21- kilometre section of the Trans-Canada Highway west of Salmon Arm.

The project involves four-laning the stretch of highway, upgrading the Second Nations Road intersection, eliminating the First  Avenue SW intersection and the Salmon Arm Road intersection, introducing a grade-separated facility to replace the eliminated intersections, plus the introduction of frontage roads and a new four-lane bridge over the Salmon River.

This initial request for qualifications, which closes at 2 p.m. June 6, is for a consultant to provide functional and detail design services, cost estimates and contract specifications.

Structural design, as required for the project, will be supplied by the province.

The ministry expects to have a contract in place with the preferred consultant by August, with the tender package completed by spring 2016.

“Hearing that now, I want to say Woo hoo! It’s the one thing that would make all Salmon Arm happy,” said an excited Mayor Nancy Cooper yesterday. “I had heard rumblings but didn’t know about timelines or plans, so I didn’t want to say anything.”

But timelines for when the work will begin or be completed are not yet on the horizon.

“This was one of seven proposed projects included for public discussion during the Highway 1 Kamloops to Alberta Four-Laning Program’s community engagement, held in February/March 2013,” advised the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in a May 27 email. “The project is still in design. There is no timeline for construction.”