WATCH: The City of Victoria took media on a tour of the Johnson Street bridge to give a close up look at the bridge’s inner workings. Monica Martinez reports.
The new Johnson Street bridge is a work in progress, a project years in the making.
Crews are assembling and welding different sections of the steel deck and building the various walkways. Trial painting will soon begin.
The changes are visible from the outside, but the City of Victoria is giving the media a tour inside, showing off the bridge’s inner workings.
“We’ll have a guide on it so that when the bridge goes up and down it stays centered,” said City of Victoria Project Director Jonathan Huggett.
It’s complex engineering feat. Huggett said the only similarity to a typical bridge is that cars go over it, everything else is very different.
“The fact that it goes up and down means the design is such it has to be very accurately constructed. The machinery has to be put into high tolerances and that is key to making sure that bridge continues to work effectively over the coming years,” he said.
The Johnson Street bridge has been fraught with problems.
It’s hard to believe the original completion date was September 2015 at a price tag of $63-million. Now, it’s set to open at the end of 2017 at a cost of $105-million.
The biggest reason for the delay was faulty steel from China.
“We are getting ready for the steel to arrive from China towards the end of the year so that we’ll start to erect these very tall steel rings and the rest of the bridge,” Huggett said.
Mayor Lisa Helps said the new bridge will be iconic, lasting the next 75 to 100 years.
“50 per cent of the bridge deck is for pedestrians and cyclists, 50 per cent of the bridge deck is for cars and I think that’s a significant statement about how people are choosing to move into the city and into the downtown,” she said.
She is happy to see the progress made and project finally coming to a conclusion.
“I know it’s been a painful project for the city and public but hopefully once it’s open that will fade.”
The completion of the Johnson Street bridge will certainly be an end to an ongoing headache for the city and its taxpayers.