The long-awaited replacement of the Haisla Bridge has entered the first phase of the estimated four years it will take to complete the project.
In February the District of Kitimat issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) through BC Bid for interested parties to submit proposals to provide environmental services for the duration of the project.
“The purpose of this RFP is to retain an environmental consultant to provide environmental services to the project team during the project planning, permitting, and procurement phases of the project,” read the notice on BC Bid’s website.
“The successful proponent will report through the project team’s environmental advisor, who will provide oversight and review of all environmental and permitting materials.”
The notice makes mention of the fact that the existing bridge is the “only crossing of the Kitimat River within the District of Kitimat.”
“The existing bridge was constructed in 1954 and is operating at the end of its intended design life.
“Currently, the bridge requires extensive and ongoing maintenance, is inadequate for the size and weight of some cargo destined for the industrial area, and presents safety concerns.”
District of Kitimat director of economic development Mike Dewar said the release of the RFP signalled the beginning of a process that will ensure the replacement of the bridge is completed “in accordance with environmental and archeological sensitivities and requirements.”
“The District of Kitimat is excited to begin this project which will deliver a bridge that will serve our community and connect our nation’s economy to international markets for years to come,” said Dewar.
In June last year federal finance minister Bill Morneau travelled to Kitimat to announce that Ottawa would invest $275-million in Kitimat as part of its support for the overall advancement of the LNG Canada facility.
Of that, $220 million of that money from the federal Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) will go to help fund high energy-efficient gas turbines in order to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and fuel use at the facility.
Morneau said the rest of the money, $55 million, would go towards the construction of a new bridge to replace the ageing Haisla Bridge, crucial he said for handling the increased traffic that will accompany the construction of the facility.
He said the bridge construction project will create up to 100 jobs over the four-year construction period.
The $55 million for the construction of the new bridge is being made through Western Economic Diversification Canada, a federal government department that funds community economic development projects throughout Canada.
The money will cover the capital cost for the construction of a new two-lane bridge adjacent to the existing bridge and for the decommissioning of the existing bridge.
It is anticipated that the new bridge will be substantially complete by the end of 2022, depending on how soon permits are issued.
A competitive selection process, utilizing a design-build approach, is envisioned for the project.
Vancouver-based technical management consulting firm Collings Johnston Inc. (CJI) has been appointed by the District of Kitimat to serve as chief project officer.
As part of this assignment, CJI determined that a critical path item is the environmental permitting phase of the project.