The Dynamic Beast crane barge will make its way to Victoria on Dec. 8 to begin moving heavy steel parts of the new Johnson Street Bridge into place. Photo courtesy Dynamic Heavy Lift

‘Dynamic Beast’ arrives to lift new bridge components into place next week

Giant crane to lower steel rings and counterweight onto existing Victoria structure

When one of Western Canada’s largest cranes makes its grand entrance into the Inner Harbour next week, it will signal the beginning of the end of the new Johnson Street Bridge project.

The Dynamic Beast crane barge, armed with a 400-foot boom, is tentatively scheduled to arrive Friday, Dec. 8 and park in the marine channel under the existing bridge for up to five days. The bridge will be closed to the public periodically for multiple hours at a time, including from 7 to 9 a.m. on the day the barge arrives and the day it moves into place.

WATCH: Johnson Street Bridge taking shape

The Beast is 330-ft. long and 120 ft. wide and will leave only 10 feet on either side of the narrowest part of the waterway. Because of that and for safety precautions, that part of the harbour will be closed to all marine traffic – even canoes and kayaks – while the barge is under the bridge.

The crane will place the lower counterweight, then the north and south rings – all part of the bascule span, the section that lifts for marine traffic – onto the fixed bascule pier already built near the downtown approach to the bridge. Once the rings and lower counterweight are in place the barge will depart Victoria. In the meantime the rings and lower counterweight will be bolted together and aligned.

RELATED: On-site installation begins early next month for Victoria bridge project

Over the five days, the work will be viewable to the public, with the best sightlines on the northeast side of the bridge near Canoe Brewpub and Mermaid Wharf, or on the Johnson Street Bridge project webcam at youtube.com/watch?v=F3qDI1Y1XEg.

A rough schedule of closures has been released:

Day 1: Road closure of approximately 45 min. between 7 and 9 a.m., crane barge passes under current bridge into the Upper Harbour.

Day 2: Road closure of 45 min. between 7 and 9 a.m., barge positioned under existing bridge; intermittent bridge closures for several hours between 9:15 a.m. and 5 p.m. as crane lifts lower counterweight and north ring into bascule pier

Day 3: Intermittent bridge closures between 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. – crane lifts south ring into bascule pier; 45 min. closure when crane barge exits from under bridge between 2:45 to 5 p.m. and departs Victoria

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

Johnson Street bridge

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