Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper

Column: Council advocates for bridge work – soon

In September 2016, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced the much needed replacement for the Salmon River Bridge as well as the four-laning of the Trans-Canada Highway west of Salmon Arm.

As you may know, this project had been put on hold during our last year’s provincial elections.

During the Union of BC Municipalities convention last fall, your Council and I met with the new Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Claire Trevena, specifically regarding the planned Trans-Canada Highway improvements as well as the new the Salmon River Bridge.

At that time we were assured the project remained on schedule for completion by the fall 2022. We were also assured the work would be delivered through four contracts, one for pre-loading and another three for the highway and bridge construction.

In our discussion with Minister Trevena and MOTI staff, they indicated that pre-loading was a critical component of the project near the area of the new bridge and that the contract would be tendered in the spring of 2018. As you can imagine no pre-loading can commence until the ground dries up. I have urged MOTI to finish completing whatever negotiations they are involved in to ensure the tendering of the pre-loading contact can happen as planned, this spring, so they can begin pre-loading once the area is dry.

My fear at this point is that if there are any further delays, they may not be ready to commence work on the construction of the bridge when planned, resulting in a further delay in completing the much needed highway and bridge improvements. So again, I urge MOTI to ensure they are ready to commence pre-loading the site this year once the property is dry enough to be accessed.

In addition, just like many of you, I have visited the Salmon River Bridge several times this week and watched the river rise further and further, past the bottom of the bridge all the way up to what appeared to be the half-way point on the side of bridge.

Fortunately, for now we are now seeing the water recede. Hopefully the water continues to decrease, although with the prediction of hot weather and possible rain later on this week, we may see the Salmon River water level rise again. In the meantime remember to be diligent and obey all signage and watch out for the flaggers.

I will be away for a couple of days attending my dad’s funeral but will return as soon as possible, as I want to be here to support everyone should more flooding occur.

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