Regardless of who is leading the province come November 2020, Terry Rysz hopes the Bruhn Bridge replacement remains a priority for B.C.’s transportation ministry.
In November 2018, the province’s transportation minister, Claire Trevena, and François-Philippe Champagne, federal minister of infrastructure and communities, joined Sicamous’ mayor and council in council chambers to announce $224.5 million in joint funding for the replacement of the Bruhn Bridge along Highway 1. After the announcement, and the selection of a replacement option – a five lane structure, it was anticipated construction of the bridge would begin in 2020.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure later amended plans for construction, anticipating shovels to be in the ground sometime in 2021.
With a provincial election occurring a year ahead of schedule, however, Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz is uncertain where the province is on the project.
“They’re talking 2021 but who knows, and who knows where it might lie depending on where the election goes…,” said Rysz.
One of the options considered to replace the Bruhn included a second pedestrian bridge, which would have been erected in the location of the bridge that spanned Sicamous Narrows prior to the 1962 opening of the bridge that would be named after local MLA R.W. Bruhn. The District of Sicamous remains committed to seeing the second bridge built, with the effort being lead by a select Bruhn and pedestrian bridge committee.
“The pedestrian bridge is extremely important to Sicamous, with the connection to the rail corridor and so forth,” said Rysz.
As things stand now, Rysz doesn’t see the province backpedalling on the pedestrian bridge. However, he suggested the discussion could come back to the table with a change in government. Regardless, he stressed the Bruhn’s replacement is a priority for Sicamous, and is hopeful the same goes for the province and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure after the Oct. 24 provincial election.
“The Trans-Canada Highway was seriously busy, probably more busy than I’ve seen it in all the time I’ve lived here,” said Rysz of summer traffic. “When you take a look at the condition of the Bruhn Bridge and the importance of it to the Trans-Canada Highway, I hope it’s high on MOTI’s radar, but I think it’s somewhat political based on the cost of it.”