Illustration of the new Johnson Street Bridge, which will open directly after the community picnic and celebration March 31 from noon-5 p.m. Courtesy of the City of Victoria

‘Hello New, Goodbye Blue’: How to navigate Johnson Street Bridge festivities

Transit rerouted, bridges closed to vehicle traffic March 31 for community celebration

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.

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.

For up to date information on the project, visit JohnsonStreetBridge.com and view the live webcam. Or, check out our series, Bridging The Gap.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

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