Colwood city council has picked a contractor to build a new pedestrian and cycling overpass for the Galloping Goose Trail at the Island Highway, where users are currently forced to detour to continue using the route.
At Monday’s council meeting, councillors were presented with a staff report recommending they award the contract to SureSpan Construction for about $5.1 million. Three other contractors had submitted proposals to build the bridge.
Most councillors were in favour, except for Coun. Dean Jantzen and Coun. Misty Olsen. “You don’t want the bridge built?” asked Mayor Doug Kobayashi during the meeting.
In April 2022, the city announced it had earned a $3.6 million grant from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program for the bridge. Staff’s report says the city’s surplus will fund the remaining cost.
The total project budget is $6.3 million, and preliminary design considerations suggested the bridge would need to be 38 metres long by 4.1 metres wide.
The city describes the Goose as “a picturesque multi-use trail that runs through the heart of Colwood as it follows the old railway line on its 55 km journey from Victoria to Sooke.” It says the trail, owned and maintained by the Capital Regional District, sees more than 200,000 users each year.
READ APRIL 2022 STORY: Colwood receives $3.6M grant to build Galloping Goose bridge
But when the trail meets Wale Road, users must detour along the road to the highway, wait to cross at the light, and then travel up the sidewalk along the highway to get back on the trail.
“Adding to confusion at this crossing is a small section of trail that cuts across from Wale Road to the Highway, but ends there dangerously, with no safe crossing in sight,” the city said in a release last April.
Corey Burger, policy and infrastructure chair with Capital Bike, said a bridge was advocated for for a long time.
Speaking with CHEK News, he said one thing that attracts people to the Goose is that it’s an all-ages and abilities network, but cycling along the highway is not.
“Island Highway and Wale Road is a very large intersection that sees a lot of crashes, and there’s some really high-speed traffic moving through it,” said Burger.
“So what this overpass does is it eliminates that risk entirely.”
The city says natural wood elements, reinforcing “Colwood’s focus on sustainability and connections to nature,” were considered in the design process, as well as collaboration with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations “to make the bridge a meaningful symbol of partnership, inclusion and reconciliation.”
When construction begins, the city says access through the trail and Sooke Road may be affected. Traffic control personnel will be on-site, and construction signage will also be in place.
Last year, construction was estimated to be complete by or before 2026, and CHEK News reached out to the city for a more updated timeline.
“Although SureSpan has stated a construction timeline of 28 weeks, that clock will start only once the designs are finalized and a formal project management contract is in place,” the city’s communications manager, Sandra Russell, told CHEK News in a statement Wednesday.