First ring placed for new Johnson Street Bridge; critics of project still not convinced

First ring placed for new Johnson Street Bridge; critics of project still not convinced
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WATCH: The largest infrastructure project in Victoria’s history. The controversial new Johnson Street Bridge taking shape this weekend. Isabelle Raghem reports.

History was made Saturday.  The new Johnson Street bridge, a nearly 10-year old project, finally took shape.

Dozens made their way to Victoria’s Mermaid’s Wharf to catch a glimpse of the Dynamic Beast crane doing some heavy lifting.

A 160-tonne counterweight was set in place by 10 a.m.. The first of two rings, the north ring weighing 290 tonnes, was set by the afternoon. The rings will be the pivot points of the bridge.

“[Crews] were talking they’re exciting, they couldn’t sleep. You’re almost like kids, you’re pumped up,” said Project Manager Jonathan Huggett Saturday.

The project was initially billed at $63-million  and set to be completed by 2015. It is now set for an estimated $105-million and is set to open to traffic by mid 2018.

“The concern for me is the design. Is this something that is going to will last? Is it going to serve as well as the old bridge has and for as long?” said Ross Crockford, writer of johnsonstreetbridge.org.

Crockford has been a vocal critic from the beginning and insists we shouldn’t remove the old bridge quite yet.

“The final judgement is not to be rendered yet, we still need to see how it operates, how it works.”

Still, for most, it’s something that couldn’t come soon enough.

“I’m pleased we’re getting to this point,” added Huggett, “I think everybody is relieved we got here and we’re not looking back, we’re looking forward.”

 

 

 

Isabelle RaghemIsabelle Raghem

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