Illustration of the new Johnson Street Bridge, which will have the final major components installed this weekend. Courtesy of the City of Victoria

EDITORIAL: Optimism around Victoria bridge, pessimism as well

As Johnson Street Bridge project nears completion, how will taxpayers judge this council?

The last time the Johnson Street Bridge was shut down for the weekend for major construction on the new bridge, the spectacle drew large crowds of curious onlookers.

This weekend promises to feature more of the same as the final large components, including the bridge deck, are installed with the help of the Dynamic Beast crane barge used to lower the massive ring assemblies into place in December.

While not everyone views these closing months of the project with a sense of excitement, the fact it is nearing completion after years of delays and an ever-ballooning budget gives those who have watched and waited a reason for optimism. The new bridge will create a whole new look for Victoria’s Inner Harbour and be a more suitable icon for our city in the 21st century.

On the other hand, this project started out with a budget of $63 million and will wind up costing more than $105 million – and be completed three years later than planned. Such a discrepancy and added burden on taxpayers will no doubt lead some voters to rethink their choices come this fall’s civic election.

The bridge project began under the previous regime, with many senior staffers who have since left the City. True, most of the current council members were part of the last group. But some of the difficult budgetary decisions required in the past three years were made with the City left in a lurch by suppliers who weren’t as up to the task as first thought. It leads one to wonder whether those forced choices might have been avoided were different ones made at the project’s outset.

Such discussions may well be water under the bridge with no way to go backward, but questions will continue to be asked after the project is completed in late March – the most recent estimate for the bridge’s opening.

Nevertheless, we’re looking forward to seeing the bridge finished and will be marvelling with the rest of the public this weekend as the Beast works its magic.

Just Posted

Legend of Victoria dog ‘Cody’ lives on with successful pet drive

Charmaine’s furniture store collecting donations for Victoria Pet Food Bank

Added webcams give drivers more views of Malahat and highway to Sooke

Five new DriveBC webcams installed in high traffic locations on Vancouver Island

Skygazers spot mysterious flaming object during Sunday’s lunar eclipse

University of Victoria astronomer explains the “glowing object”

Ousted legislature officials say report released to further blacken their reputations

James and Lenz say release was ‘Contrary to all principles of fairness and decent treatment’

Four Grizzlies crack NHL’s central scouting list for 2019

Newhook, Campbell, Bucheler and Berger earn NHL notice

Royals test unbeaten streak on Hockey for Hospitals night

Marty and the Victoria Royals host Hockey for Hospitals night on Feb. 2

Former Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay voted into Baseball Hall of Fame

M’s legend Edgar Martinez, Rivera, Mussina also make the grade

POLL: Do you support a speculation tax on vacant homes in Greater Victoria?

Homeowners have begun to receive letters asking if they should be exempt… Continue reading

Why would the B.C. legislature need a firewood splitter?

First sign of police involvement in investigation of top managers

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Judge annuls hairdresser’s forced marriage to boss’ relative

Woman was told she’d be fired if she didn’t marry boss’s Indian relative so he could immigrate here

Liberals look to make home-buying more affordable for millennials: Morneau

Housing is expected to be a prominent campaign issue ahead of October’s federal election

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Most Read