Johnson St. Bridge: fix or replace? [updated Jan. 22, April 2, 2009]

June 11, 2008 at 12:01 am 2 comments

UPDATE: April 2, 2009: The Times Colonist reports on the City’s preliminary proposals for replacement or refurbishment.

City graphic of potential bridge replacement (Times Colonist)

UPDATE Jan.22, 2009: The Victoria News reports on the Johnson St. Bridge rehab and other infrastructure fixes:

They also learned for the first time that the 1924-built Johnson Street bridge will cost $15 million to repair, plus ongoing maintenance costs, to last another 40 years. Replacing the structure would cost $30 million and last up to 100 years.

The Johnson Street Bridge has been a landmark on the Harbour for decades. I remember when it was painted black, and linked downtown Victoria to the railyards and industrial yards of Vic West.

Now, the media is reporting that the bridge is about to undergo an City-sponsored engineering inspection, with a mind to determining the future of the 84-year-old bascule bridge.

A replacement fixed bridge is probably out of the question. The revitalization of the Upper Harbour ship repair facilities means ship traffic will remain for decades to come. In fact, any type of replacement will probably be too expensive for the City. This type of project is likely to be unpopular as a public/private partnership so would have to be funded entirely by taxpayers to the tune of over $10 million.

The best solution, providing the bridge isn’t in disastrous condition, is to spend the money necessary to ensure it lasts for at least the next quarter century. It will still cost a lot, but it will be money well spent. It has paid for itself handsomely over the decades, and we should remind ourselves that there has been a lot of deferred maintenance on that bridge and we have only ourselves to blame for its present less-than-satisfactory state.

It will then be up to a future generation to determine if the Johnson St. Bridge will be suitable for bringing commuters into Downtown for the second half of the 21st century.

Entry filed under: architecture, urban design.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. thekernel  |  June 19, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    What a city. We’ll be spending $1.2 billion to treat sewage but we’re choking at the thought of spending a few million to fix up our famous downtown bridge. It makes me want to cry.

  • 2. robertrandall  |  June 19, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    I wish it were only $1.2 billion but that’s a topic for another post.

    I find it ironic that the city berates Clara Kramer for the years of deferred maintenance on her old heritage buildings but just a few metres away, the City’s own historic irreplaceable bridge rusts away.


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