The City of Victoria has updated its lineup for Saturday’s community celebration, “Hello New, Goodbye Blue,” to usher in the new era of the Johnson Street Bridge.
From noon until 5 p.m. March 31, both bridges will be closed to vehicle traffic for two community picnics – one on each bridge – to say farewell to the old, and what’s up to the new. The street party promises live music and entertainment, food trucks, vintage cars, craft and activity stations for children and a host of elected officials to help cut the ribbon.
The community, on foot or bicycle, will get the first opportunity to cross the new bridge before it opens to vehicle traffic.
Bill Eisenhauer, head of engagement with the City of Victoria, says both bridges will actually close to vehicle traffic starting this Friday at 7 a.m. “You’ll still be able to come across as a pedestrian or cyclist on the old bridge,” he explains. Wharf and Store streets will remain open, but transit will be rerouted and drivers are encouraged to use the Bay Street Bridge.
Following the festivities, the new bridge will open to traffic, at which time it will be lights out for Old Blue. “On Saturday, at about 9 p.m. vehicles will start flowing on the new bridge,” Eisenhauer says.
We’re definitely excited to open the new bridge to the public next week, but we’re also going to miss the existing bridge. Do you have a good memory to share about the Blue Bridge #yyj ? Be sure to come say goodbye March 31 from noon-5pm! pic.twitter.com/o1idQhzTEr— City of Victoria (@CityOfVictoria) March 24, 2018
Work will shift immediately to dismantling the old span and constructing the public spaces planned for the east and west approaches to the bridge, as well as public plazas and the new waterfront park in Vic West.
“It’s important to remember that work’s not yet completed,” Eisenhauer says. “There will be some ongoing work, painting, and removal of the old bridge, so there will be some periodic lane closures going [forward].”
Closures will be expected when the Dynamic Beast – the crane barge famously used during the project – returns later this spring.
The pedestrian/cycling bridge that will connect the Galloping Goose and E&N trails will also open to the public, but the walkway on the south side of the new bridge will remain closed until the dismantling of the old bridge is complete.