The new Craigflower Bridge is now open to pedestrians, though under the watchful eye of flag people as construction crews race to finish the project by its end of May deadline.
Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard said the bridge officially opened to pedestrians earlier this week and crews are now dismantling the temporary pedestrian crossing which had been put in place for the duration of the project.
Just when the bridge will be open to vehicle traffic is still unknown, and Leonard is hesitant to make a guess.
“It’s in the hands of contractor, not either of the municipalities,” Leonard said, referring to Saanich and View Royal. “Clearly anybody looking at the bridge has a pretty good sense it’s going to be done before the end of May, but you want to allow for Murphy’s Law too. …
“I feel so badly for the residents and the businesses who have had to wait so long, I wouldn’t want them to have another disappointment. … We’re committed that the minute it’s safe for traffic, we’ll start using it.”
The $16 million project has been ongoing since April 2013 and was originally planned to be complete in December. A delay in the acquisition of steel held up the project until the spring. If it is not complete by the end of May the contractor, Don Mann Excavating Ltd., will face financial penalties.
“We’re already getting feedback from pedestrians on how wonderful it is, the space they have. It’ll be the same for cyclists,” Leonard said. “It’s going to serve many generations going into the future and the hiccups we’ve had over the past few months will be long forgotten.”