The provincial government says it is considering five concepts for the future of the Taylor Bridge.
The transportation ministry on Tuesday said it has opened a second round of public engagement on the bridge, with written submissions being accepted until Sept. 30.
Among the five concepts being considered, according to the ministry, are:
1) Maintain existing bridge in good condition
The ministry says this would involve "ongoing maintenance and repair investments" as required to maintain the bridge as a "safe crossing." Today, the bridge’s open steel grid deck requires more than 100 maintenance days per year, at a conservative estimate of $1 million.
2) Extensively renew existing two-lane bridge
According to the ministry, this would involve adding a new solid deck surface "to minimize ongoing maintenance and related bridge closures.”
“The bridge structure would be strengthened and repainted. This renewal would enable wider lanes to improve travel comfort, smoothness, and reliability," the ministry says. “This concept would see some improvements for active transportation.”
3. Replace existing bridge with a new two-lane bridge
According to the ministry, "This concept would also create new opportunities for safer active transportation on the bridge and enhance connections to trails and Peace Island Park. "This concept would require a new in-stream and foreshore bridge footprint."
4. Replace existing bridge with a new four-lane bridge
The ministry says this concept would support future economic growth both in Northeast B.C. and across the province.
"This concept creates new opportunities for safer active transportation on the bridge and enhances connections to trails and Peace Island Park," the ministry says. "This concept would require a new in-stream and foreshore bridge footprint."
5. Renew the existing bridge and add a new two-lane bridge
The ministry says adding a new solid deck surface would "prolong the useful life of the existing bridge" and would "meet current and future demand by increasing capacity through a new two-lane bridge."
"This concept also creates new opportunities for safer active transportation on the bridge and enhances connections to trails and Peace Island Park," the ministry says. "This concept would require a new in-stream and foreshore bridge footprint for the new two lane structure."
The ministry says engineering investigations are continuing, including bridge inspections and in-stream inspections that include dive-team investigations for riverbed erosion and in-river geotechnical drilling.
More than 1,000 comments through virtual open houses, surveys, and written submissions during the first round of public engagement last fall, the ministry says.
Among the top concerns raised were the size of the bridge and ability to handle oversized loads and industrial equipment, construction timelines and limited opportunities for detour routes, safety concerns with the South Taylor Hill and bridge approach and unprotected sidewalks, and maintaining connections to Peace Island Park and the boat launch.
The bridge, opened in 1960 and now 62 years old, sees 7,500 vehicles a day, according to the ministry. About one-third of that is commercial truck traffic, it says.
The 712-metre two-lane bridge has carried drivers across the Peace River at the same spot where its predecessor collapsed after a 1957 landslide.
To learn more and submit feedback on the latest round of public input, click here.
Email your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org