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Sikanni Chief bridge update

Highway remains open to light vehicles, but testing is ongoing to determine if bridge can handle increased load limits

Public Services and Procurement Canada has provided the following update on testing and repair plans for the Sikanni Chief River Bridge.

As of Thursday, the highway remains open to single-lane alternating traffic for light pickups, cars, travel trailers, and RVs.

Commercial vehicles 15,500kg and under are asked to bring weight slips to verify. 

From Public Services and Procurement Canada:

"PSPC’s immediate priority is to complete assessments and analysis of the bridge and any temporary repairs necessary to reopen the bridge for all public and commercial traffic as quickly as possible.

"The bridge has suffered severe damage from the fire, with three out of five spans affected. Structural assessments, including detailed inspections, material and load testing have been ongoing. At the same time, instrumentation has been installed on the bridge to collect data in support of load testing results. Concrete and steel samples are still under analysis for potentially increasing the load capacity of the bridge. Early results obtained from testing have been positive; however, the testing and analysis needs to be completed before a decision on increasing the load limits can be supported.

"Currently, trucks and vehicles up to gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 15,500kg can safely cross the bridge. Heavy trucks and vehicles over 15,500 kg GVW need to detour via HWY 37 or HWY 77, which can be a 12-20 hour detour. Maintenance crews with flaggers and signages are still in place to inform travellers of the bridge load limits and detour.

"Additionally, we have been assessing temporary options to shore up or bypass the damaged spans that can be rapidly installed if the results of the testing and analysis do not support raising the safe traffic loads for heavy trucks. The goal of the temporary measures is to allow unrestricted traffic loads to safely cross the bridge until permanent repairs or replacements can be implemented in the future.

"The department expects to have a recommended option for a temporary mechanism soon. More details will be made available as the final design is completed and a construction schedule is fully developed."

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