Work on the replacement of the Salmon River Bridge is slated to begin this fall.
This was reiterated by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in a Monday, Aug. 31 media release.
The bridge construction is part of a phase in the Salmon Arm West project that includes includes the four-laning of Highway 1 from 1st Avenue SW to 10th Avenue SW. A $29.7 million contract was awarded to Springline Construction Services Ltd. of Delta for the work.
The release stated hiring of local workers will be made a priority through the Community Benefits Agreement.
Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison said the city looks forward to the work getting started.
“The planned four-laning and other improvements will provide a number of benefits to our community, including a new bridge over the Salmon River, a completed access road on the south side of the highway, wider shoulders and a separated path that will increase safety and mobility for pedestrians and cyclists, and enhanced access through the corridor,” Harrison commented in the release. “We appreciate the work that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has done to bring this to fruition.”
Along with widening 2.2 kilometres of Highway 1 to four lanes with a concrete median barrier, work on this segment will also include construction of an interchange with frontage and side-road connections, construction of frontage roads to consolidate access to and from Highway 1; and a multi-use pathway for pedestrians, cyclists and people using other forms of active transportation.
The ministry said every effort will be made during construction to minimize disruption and impacts to local traffic, and updates will be provided via DriveBC.
The total budget for the Salmon Arm West four-laning project is $184.7 million. This includes up to $31.4 million in federal funding. The project was initially estimated to cost $162.7 million; however, the ministry explained original estimates from 2016 were completed with limited engagement and engineering, and reflected an early level of understanding about the project.
“Since original estimates, significant consultation with the Pespesellkwe of the Secwepemc Nation and the City of Salmon Arm has been completed, along with detailed engineering investigations,” stated the ministry in a previous release. “Due to these factors, along with increasing costs of labour and a competitive construction market, the budget for the Salmon Arm West four-laning project has been increased to $184.7 million.”
While the project has increased in cost, its scope has been reduced, at least temporarily, with phase 3 – IR#3 to 1st Ave. SW – through Neskonlith removed from the ministry’s construction schedule.
“This segment is complex and runs through one of the Neskonlith Indian Band’s reserves,” stated the ministry in an email to the Observer. “We are continuing the process of developing a detailed design and determining the property required, while addressing any concerns and impacts as a result of that design with the Neskonlith Indian Band.”
Neskonlith band Coun. Joan Hooper confirmed in an email that the band is working collectively with communities and the ministry.
According to the ministry, the stretch of Highway 1 the Salmon Arm West project encompasses carries approximately 15,500 vehicles per day on average, with peak daily volumes exceeding 21,000. Approximately 11 per cent of the average daily traffic are heavy trucks and commercial carriers.