What to do with Haisla Bridge

What to do with Haisla Bridge

Kitimat’s transportation infrastructure key piece of economic development

A transportation study for the Kitimat area is underway, and will complement the government's own 10-year plan.

The B.C. government has revealed a 10-year plan for work to repair or upgrade the province’s transportation network.

As a community Kitimat was specifically mentioned in the government’s report, however no specific project was named for the community.

Among the mentions of Kitimat were to “Facilitate Port of Kitimat development with port structure and governance models that support economic activity.”

Further in the 60 page report includes a commitment by the government  to “continue to work with First Nations, local and federal governments, ports and industry on land use planning, access and infrastructure needs for proposed LNG facilities throughout the province.”

The report continued, “The Province will be ready to upgrade provincial infrastructure as needed to support LNG.

The report does specify one project for neighbouring Terrace to resurface the Sande Overpass bridge deck.

In Kitimat there’s no such specific plan, but locals are sure to know which project would be best if the government wants to support and LNG industry: Haisla Bridge.

Kitimat’s only road access to the service and industrial centres of town has often been held up as a necessary bit of infrastructure that the District has sought provincial help in maintaining.

What to do with the bridge, and what needs to be done for the entire roadway from Highway 16 in Terrace to the end of Bish Forest Service Road  in Kitimat, is the focus of an ongoing study right now, commissioned by B.C. and being funded by area industries, said Kitimat Chief Administrative Officer Ron Poole.

The $1.6 million study, he said, will likely be finished in the late spring.

That study is looking at four sections of the highway from Terrace to Kitimat. The first is from Highway 16 to Kitamaat Village Road, then from there to Rio Tinto Alcan, and then from Bish FSR to the Chevron site.

“What’s probably of most interest in our section is the condition of the bridge and whether it should be upgraded or replaced,” said Poole. “We don’t know what that answer is. If you asked us five, 10 years ago we would have said it just needs a paint job and some upgrading. But at that time we were not anticipating heavy industrial growth either and that the bridge would be impacted a lot different than just a general community needing their bridge renovated.”

The bridge has already been known to slow down work in the sense that trucks en route to the industrial sites have had to turn around because they exceeded the weight restrictions on Haisla Bridge.

It’s not even just economic development that’s the problem though. After a recent earthquake near Haida Gwaii, which came with a tsunami warning for the coastal area, the District realized they’d have evacuation challenges during major disaster events if they happen.

Namely, at a potential construction peak there could be more people living on the industrial side of the town in camps than in the town itself.

“How do you get 10,000 people across the bridge in an hour or two?”

Answers to those questions are what he hopes to see in recommendations from the forthcoming study.

“We would hope that the province takes those recommendations seriously and does something about it so that it doesn’t delay these [final investment decisions].”

It’s not just the bridge that’s in need. Merge lanes are also being studied, said Poole, including at Cable Car and at the landfill and cemetery. Improving sight lines at the Kitamaat Village Road and Haisla Boulevard is also on the table.

The District of Kitimat is also making a strong push to have the province take control of Kitimat’s portion of Haisla Boulevard, which runs through the town until the railroad crossing near RTA.

Having the province take that on means they’d own, maintain and fund it.

“We feel now with the development of industry on the other end that this is becoming more of a major highway than a road going through a community,” said Poole.


Just Posted

Kitimat’s Water Quality Advisory, which has been in place for just over a week, has been lifted. (Black Press file photo)
Water Quality Advisory in Kitimat lifted

The district has been under a Water Quality Advisory since June 2

On June 16 at 6 p.m., the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a public presentation and discussion with Happipad, a social enterprise, to talk about solutions for affordable housing Kitimat. (Happipad photo)
Affordable housing to be focus of Kitimat Chamber of Commerce meeting

Figures indicate the average Kitimat household needs to make more than $92,000 a year

(District of Kitimat logo)
Hirsch Creek Bridge restricted to single lane traffic

The district is restricting the bridge traffic to legal highway loads only

Artist’s illustration of the proposed Kitimat LNG facility at Bish Cove near Kitimat. (Kitimat LNG illustration)
Haisla Nation surprised by Woodside pull out from Kitimat LNG project

Haisla Nation council states its main focus is now on developing the Haisla-led Cedar LNG project

(Northern Health logo)
Pop-up vaccine clinic tomorrow at the Save-on-Foods parking lot in Kitimat

The clinic will be this Friday, June 11 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read