Construction materials next to the river as crews continue work on the Haisla Bridge Replacement project (Christian Apostolovski/Black Press Media)

Construction materials next to the river as crews continue work on the Haisla Bridge Replacement project (Christian Apostolovski/Black Press Media)

Construction remains on schedule for the new Haisla Bridge in Kitimat

Removal of the old bridge is projected to happen in Oct. 2023

A familiar sight for many Kitimat residents, the Haisla bridge construction continues and council heard an update regarding progress on the bridge on Nov. 15.

“By our rough calculation we are 29 per cent complete that includes 88 per cent design and 15 per cent of the construction,” said David Collings, chief project officer.

The updates to construction began in July where teams began installing spawning deterrents to discourage fish spawning in areas of construction. They also began setting up the site which included site fencing and the installation of gawk screens. The east approach access road was also put into place at this time.

August brought the beginning of the installation of a ramp for the centre trestle, the centre piling was also being built.

September and October brought construction closer to the roadway which includes clearing, grubbing, embankment construction and the beginning of road widening.

Traffic management also took place throughout this construction as crews were near the road.

Construction and traffic management in the area have led to some delays. Phil Germuth, Kitimat’s mayor has had experience firsthand in dealing with the traffic daily.

“Having a business in service centre, and going through at least six or seven times a day I think you guys are doing a very good job given the amount of construction in the area,” he said following the update.

All traffic management completed in the area must adhere to the District of Kitimat’s bylaws. Traffic must remain two lanes during rush hour unless otherwise coordinated with the district.

One of the key issues during ongoing construction is the potential for flooding by the river and crews needed to be prepared to evacuate.

“This was put to test on Sept. 4, where it looked like they may need to evacuate, so they did, they needed to be able to evacuate within 12 hours, they did it in under seven hours,” said Collings.

“From full operating, piling operations, to having the entire gravel bar free of all materials, this occasion it did not flood but three weeks later it did.”

The District of Kitimat will begin to issue quarterly stats reports on the bridge. Construction remains on schedule and October 2023 is currently the target for removal of the old bridge.