Local businesses upset paving to close Johnson Street Bridge Sunday

Local businesses upset paving to close Johnson Street Bridge Sunday

WATCH: The steel parts for the Johnson Street Bridge replacement have finally left China and are now on the way to Victoria.But there will also be a lot of activity the site this weekend with the area set to be closed to all vehicle traffic on Sunday.Mary Griffin has the details.

It was quiet inside Café Mexico in Market Square as paving continued on Johnson, Pandora and Store streets Friday.

It was officially the lunch hour, but business was slow.

“They are really hurting our businesses.  Pandora already is a problem.  And now they’ve shut down one lane, all day yesterday again.  Everyone is staying away from this area,” said Cafe Mexico owner Brad Olberg.

He says other businesses are hurting as well.

“There’s no question it could be better planning. For the businesses around this area that are suffering, big time,” said Olberg.

The roads are partially blocked to focus on paving between Wharf Street and the approaches to the new Johnson Street Bridge.

The City of Victoria says there won’t be any further road work when the project is finished.

To complete the project, the bridge will close Sunday, Aug. 13, from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., according to Brad Dellebuur, manager of transportation with the City of Victoria.

“We certainly understand impacts to businesses when construction like this does takes place. We’ve looked to find the best weather period to do the paving.  And we’re hopeful this Sunday will work out well for us.

Meanwhile, the steel for the bridge is on route from China.

The first freighter is expected to reach Victoria the third week of August.

Some components, such as the counterweights that will help raise and lower the span, each weigh 300 tonnes.

Project director Jonathan Huggett says the whole project will start taking shape this winter.

“We’ll see certainly a big pile of steel over in Point Hope Shipyards. But probably around November, December, you’ll start to see PCL Construction lifting all that steel in place. And even by Christmas, you know, it’s going to look like a completed bridge,” said Huggett.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says the one-of-a-kind bridge is well over budget, and schedule.

“It is spectacular. It will be spectacular.  Did we need a spectacular bridge when we have a spectacular harbour already?  I’m not convinced.  But that’s the bridge being built.  There is no point fighting it, said Helps.

And it will be very nice when it’s done. But let’s just get it done.?

But getting the paving done may be delayed until Aug. 20 if it rains on Sunday.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!