The demolition of the old bridge and pilings for the new bridge are underway

The demolition of the old bridge and pilings for the new bridge are underway

Craigflower Bridge project scrambles to secure steel

Work on the new $13 million Craigflower Bridge is forging ahead, but a steel shortage has the potential to slow down progress.

Work on the new $13 million Craigflower Bridge is forging ahead, but a North American steel shortage has the potential to slow down progress.

Much of the in-water work is nearing completion, including the completion of two cofferdams (a temporary dry enclosure in water). Piles on the south abutment are drilled and ready for cement. Piling work has also started in the inlet.

Crews are working six days a week to stay on schedule.

The original 80-year-old, 110 metre bridge is now 90 per cent removed. The pedestrian bridge is open and well used, said Saanich capital projects manager Jim Hemstock. “People seem to really like it, it’s so much better than the old one.”

On Admirals Road, about 300 metres of sidewalk has been laid, out of a total of about 650 metres. Underground work, such as sewer and water, is nearly finished.

“It’s clicking along,” Hemstock said. “The (bridge) foundation is coming along well. The steel is the issue.”

A steel shortage in the U.S. and Canada is making it difficult to find the materials needed to construct the actual bridge span.

“I understand it is Barack Obama’s fault,” Hemstock joked. “(With) stimulus spending – every freeway is getting a new bridge. They’re going nuts spending money on infrastructure in the States.”

As an example of the demand, Hemstock said the bridge contractor, Don Mann Construction, had steel lined up, but another company came in and snapped up the entire mill run, 2,000 tons of steel. For the bridge, 200 tons of steel is required.

The steel was supposed to be here by now, but there is enough other work to keep the job moving ahead. Once the steel is secured and it arrives, it will take three or four months to build the span, which is being done in Duncan.

Hemstock hopes for an update on the steel in the next few weeks, and also a revised schedule based on the steel status.

Check out craigflowerbridge.com.

reporter@vicnews.com