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

Esquimalt man faces four charges of sexual assault, investigators suspect more victims

71-year old Kit Wong practiced acupuncture from his home during the time of the assaults

Heat and smoke raises health risks

Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror Health risks arising from heat and… Continue reading

Pet-A-Palooza a good reason to ‘pawse’ this weekend in Victoria

Puppies, goats, wiener dog races and more on the grounds of St. Ann’s Academy Aug. 18-19

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Victoria Lavender owner set to retire

Sidney storefront to remain open, future of goat yoga undecided

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Farmers ponder impact of alternatives to pesticides being banned

The nicotine-based pesticides scientists have linked to a rising number of honey bee deaths will be phased out of use in Canada over a three year period starting in 2021.

Most Read