Haisla Bridge - to renovate or to rebuild

Haisla Bridge – to renovate or to rebuild

Even after rehabilitation the current bridge might not cope if LNG goes ahead in Kitimat

Kitimat council faces a difficult task in deciding the future of the Haisla bridge, says mayor Phil Germuth.

Built in 1954, the structure is in generally good shape but it does require seismic upgrades and other significant work which would extend its service life for 30 years.

The total bill, including annual maintenance expenditures over that 30-year period, is pegged at $12.6 million, estimates an engineering report commissioned by the district earlier this year.

But council also has to consider whether the bridge, even after rehabilitation and improvements, would be sufficient for the kind of industrial traffic that would be generated should LNG Canada decide to go ahead with its massive liquefied natural gas plant, said Germuth.

A new structure would be one allowing taller traffic, a key consideration for the movement of equipment and supplies.

“A rehabilitated bridge would give us another 30 years, but a new one would have a 70-year lifespan,” Germuth noted.

On balance, he continued, a new structure would be the best option for the area’s long-term needs.

Yet at a projected cost of more than $50 million, it’s an expenditure that’s out of the district’s reach, requiring the assistance of senior governments.

“We’re monitoring grant opportunities and we’d be looking for community partnerships with First Nations and industry,” said Germuth.

Traditionally, a project of this size would be cost-shared, one-third by a municipality, one-third by the provincial government and one-third by the federal government, with the district first having a business plan signed off by the province before approaching the federal government.

Germuth acknowledged that a decision by LNG Canada to proceed with its project would help spur the case for a new structure.

“Ideally, then, you’d want it to be finished before that project starts,” he said.

Germuth added that background work such as continued access to Kitimat Rod and Gun Club property and new approaches has already taken place so that council is aware of the large scope of work required.

The engineering assessment prepared for the district by COWI North America pegged estimated seismic upgrades at $3.282 million, a figure that includes a 50 per cent contingency allowance.

That estimate was developed by comparing similar projects.

“A cost-effective retrofit strategy to meet the assumed performance criteria could be to seismically isolate the superstructure from the substructure,” the assessment indicated.

That would include replacing the eight current truss span bearings with seismic isolation bearings.

Rehabilitation itself of the current structure could cost up to $5 million, excluding a 50 per cent contingency allowance.

Crucial to rehabilitation is the re-coating of the bridge steel, identified as a high priority by COWI, followed by replacing the steel grating.

Re-coating is necessary to mitigate degradation of the steel due to corrosion, noted COWI, as the bridge was last painted approximately 30 years ago.

“Repainting the bridge now would produce a coating that could last for another 30 years,” the COWI report emphasized.

Welds on the steel grating have been cracking and while repaired every year, COWI noted that an “appropriate service life of the steel decking would be 15 years”, indicating that the grating would need to be replaced twice to reach the intended 30-year service life.

Regular maintenance costs over 30 years and as well continued inspection round out COWI’s estimate of a $12.624 million price tag, should council decide on rehabilitation of the structure.

And should a new bridge be built and should council then decide to remove the current one, COWI estimates the cost at anywhere from $1.665 million to $2.495 million. COWI did point out that demolition would be somewhat easier because steel grating would be easier to remove than a concrete deck.

The steel decks would also have a salvage value.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tracy Owen-Best with her husband, Larry Best. Tracy runs both the Nechako Barbershop and Hair Essentials Salon in Kitimat. Diagnosed with cancer in March 2020, she’s kept a positive mindset with the help from a supportive family. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Tracy Owen-Best

Barbershop owner and cancer fighter keeps it positive

The Quesnel RCMP Detachment is one of seven northern police buildings which can now connect directly to Prince George for daily bail hearings. (Observer File Photo)
Bail hearings going virtual in B.C.’s north

A court pilot project will see virtual courtroom cameras set up in seven RCMP detatchments

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The fence option chosen for the 461 Quatsino Boulevard development is the red lines that border the site plan. The fence will be roughly six feet high with the exception of the fence bordering Cranberry Street which will be eight feet high. (Boni Maddison Architects photo)
Fence to be erected between housing project and Kitimat homeowners

Residents of the Cranberry Street area are finally getting the fence they want

Rising demand for police to perform well-being checks and field calls for people struggling with domestic violence cases is driving the city to formulate a ‘situation table’ to connect vulnerable people with the services they need. (News Bulletin file photo)
Situation Table comes to Kitimat to support vulnerable people

Situation Tables identify and help vulnerable people in need.

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
80-million-year-old turtle find on B.C. river exciting fossil hunters

Remains of two-foot creature of undetermined species will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Joudelie King wants to get out and live life to the fullest, but there are places she can’t go because they don’t meet her accessibility needs. (submitted photo)
New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

British Columbia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Wildfire fanned by winds near Merritt prompts evacuation alert

BC Wildfire Service says the suspected human-caused blaze was fanned by winds

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
National fitness group condemns unlicensed Kelowna gym’s anti-vaccine policy

The Fitness Industry Council of Canada says Flow Academy is shining a negative light on the industry

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Most Read