Jim Yardley

Jim Yardley

Pedestrians remain a puzzle for Craigflower bridge project

Commuters and businesses in the Admirals Walk area are bracing for traffic woes as the deadline looms for replacing Craigflower bridge.

Commuters and businesses in the Admirals Walk area are bracing for six months of traffic woes as the deadline looms for replacing Craigflower bridge.

The aging wood-trestle bridge on Admirals Road, which funnels 18,000 vehicles per day between View Royal, Esquimalt and Saanich, is scheduled to close June 1 for six months.

Similar to the nearby Admirals Road bridge replacement three years ago, Saanich transportation planners expect traffic to disperse evenly through the nearby municipalities. Specific detour routes won’t be set up.

But increasing complications, for the first two months Saanich plans to shut down Gorge Road West from Tillicum to Admirals to traffic to replace sewer pipes.

“This is definitely more complex (than the Admirals bridge project) just from the fact we share this bridge with View Royal and we have a school there,” said Steve Holroyd, a transportation technician with Saanich. “The impact is more complex.”

Engineers are scratching their heads on how pedestrians and students will cross the Gorge waterway to access Craigflower school or View Royal businesses at Admirals Walk. Holroyd said they will need to get students to school, but also allow elderly and special needs people who might not drive access to area shops.

“If a kid gets sick how will a parent pick them up? There are a variety of issues,” Holroyd said at an open house in View Royal. “We need to accommodate school kids and heavy (pedestrian) use through the day. We haven’t 100 per cent decided how that’s going to be done.”

Overwhelming feedback from the public, parents and Craigflower school is to build a temporary – or perhaps permanent – pedestrian bridge, but that is estimated at $250,000 and would eat into a $10.7-million budget with little wiggle room.

Bridge project manager and Saanich engineer Troy McKay expects people might be allowed to cross the old bridge during the summer, and the new bridge by the fall, but the final pedestrian management plan isn’t settled. The company which wins the bridge replacement contract will need to devise a traffic management plan.

“The easiest may be a temporary bridge,” McKay said. “The worse case scenario is there would be no (pedestrian) crossing in July or August.”

Water taxis were considered but ruled out as impractical in terms of the regulatory regime to install docks. A pontoon type floating bridge was also suggested, but Transportation Canada insists the Gorge waterway be kept open to marine traffic.

Gorge Road being closed for two months caught View Royal politicians off guard. “I’m not sure that makes sense,” remarked Coun. David Screech. “Residents will be going through a lot of pain already.”

The Craigflower project isn’t expected to create the kind severe impact on traffic patterns as last year’s Island Highway Improvement Project near Four Mile hill, but nearby businesses fear customers will reflexively give a wide berth to the Craigflower and Admirals area.

Lori Lelonde, owner of Your Pet Pals in Nelson Square, lost 30 per cent of her business during the Island Highway project, and worries this year’s roadwork will shut her 15-year business down.

Customers told her roadwork and associated traffic jams kept them away, she said. If the same happens this summer, four people might lose their jobs.

“If I make it through this I’ll be surprised,” Lelonde said. “Three years ago it was the Admirals bridge, then Island Highway and now Craigflower. It’s one after another with traffic delays.”

View Royal Mayor Graham Hill agrees businesses have had it rough over the past few years.

“When we worked on Four Mile Hill, we estimated some businesses would lose 25 per cent of their daily take, turns out some lost 35 per cent,” the mayor said. “Jobs are at stake. The community has to be considered with the impacts and how to balance that out.”

Currently two lanes with narrow sidewalks, the new Craigflower bridge will be rebuilt with two northbound lanes entering View Royal and one southbound into Saanich. It will be further widened with bike lanes and generous sidewalks with the herring fishery in mind.

The 78-year-old timber trestles will be replaced with steel, although some original wood might be incorporated into aesthetic features of the bridge.

McKay said the bridge revamp project began due to the cramped sidewalks and lack of bike lanes.

“We asked what could we do to improve Craigflower bridge based on pedestrians and cyclists. The end of that is the result we have today,” McKay said. “When you deal with a new bridge you have to look at everything.”

For more on the Craigflower bridge project, www.saanich.ca/services/engineering/projects/craigflower.html. Email admiralsroad@saanich.ca for information.

 

 

Just Posted

The City of Victoria hopes to improve its cultural spaces this year and it wants non-profits to help. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Grants up to $125,000 open to Victoria non-profit arts and cultural organizations

Victoria Cultural Infrastructure Grant applications close at the end of May

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich health and safety manager named one of Canada’s top 40 women in safety

Canadian Occupational Safety magazine celebrates women leading safety sector in 2021

Colwood city council did a last minute adjustment to this year’s budget, dropping the planned property increase to five per cent. Last year they didn’t increase taxes at all. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood agrees to 5% tax increase for 2021, deferring some expenses to next year

Last-minute changes will save the typical Colwood homeowner $56

Pacific sand dollars are a local species which belong to the same group as sea urchins. While alive, they are covered entirely by thousands of densely packed, short and slender spikes. (Photo courtesy of Louise Page)
The peculiar life of a Pacific sand dollar

UVic biology professor Louise Page offers a glace into sand dollars’ world under the water

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read