LETTER: Infrastructure projects not without problems

The Johnson Street Bridge project may not be in quite the same league, but the experience isn’t all that different.

Re: A bridge too far? (News, Jan. 28)

The Johnson Street Bridge is not the first infrastructure project to generate controversy.

In 1906, my grandfather, Alban W. L. Butler, a young civil engineer newly arrived from England, began a job that occupied his entire 40-year professional career:  the exploration, survey, design, construction and maintenance of Ontario’s fourth Welland Ship Canal.

The concept, scope and designs were beyond anything hitherto attempted, and attracted supporters and detractors of all stripes.

After construction commenced in 1910, there numerous delays and setbacks, some lasting years, due to:  a world war; shortages of skilled labour, steel, concrete, power and money; design improvements; and flooding caused by extreme weather events.

Each delay made the press as politicians and mouth-pieces of the day berated or extolled the virtues of their predecessors or those in power or in charge at the time.

The Welland Ship Canal – eight miles of canals, 11 massive lift-locks and 21 movable bridges – officially opened in 1932. The original plans and estimates had the Canal opening in 1918 at a cost of $55 million (1912 dollars). The final cost was $155 million (1932 dollars).

The Canal was considered at that time to be one of the major engineering projects of the world. It took vision, determination and leading-edge engineering to bring it about. It’s still operational today.

The Johnson Street Bridge project may not be in quite the same league, but the experience isn’t all that different.

Hopefully in a couple of years we can see our vision come to fruition and be delighted by it, and in the 22nd century look back and thank all those who took part.

David Butler, Esquimalt



Just Posted

Woman charged in Saanichton stabbing

One man treated for injuries, released from hospital following Friday assault

Saanich’s Red Lion Inn receives council’s blessing for extended liquor hours

Extension comes more than two years after a major fire

Province continues to investigate Saanich’s Horticultural Centre of the Pacific

Investigation stems from May 2 incident that turned Colquitz River ‘chocolate brown’

Avid Victoria cyclist’s legacy bike ride helps fund end-of-life care

2019 Denis Muloin Ride for Palliative Care invites cyclists for May 26 fundraiser

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read