B.C. government illustration of proposed North Fork Bridge replacement.

North Fork Bridge replacement to begin this fall

Fifty-eight-year-old structure east of Sicamous last remaining bridge with a metal truss on Trans-Canada Highway.

Shovels will soon be in the ground as construction work to replace Malakwa’s North Fork Bridge gets underway.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says construction will start later this fall, and is expected to be completed in 2018.

The 58-year-old North Fork Bridge, located east of Sicamous, is the last remaining bridge with a metal truss on the Trans-Canada Highway. The two-lane structure provides a low clearance and no shoulders.

The bridge was the site of 61 collisions between 2002 and 2011, with one fatality, 15 injuries and 45 property damage collisions.

Tybo Contracting Ltd. of Langley has been awarded a $15.7 million contract to build a new four-lane bridge, expand a 3.8 kilometre section of highway to four lanes, resurface a further 2.2 kilometres of highway and construct 1.6 kilometres of frontage roads with improved intersections and median barrier.

The upgrades will also eliminate load restriction risks associated with the current aging structure, as well as provide improvements for pedestrians and cyclists.

“It’s great that we’ll have crews out this year already on this four-laning project for Highway 1 that will be especially beneficial to residents and the large number of tourists and commercial drivers travelling through the region,” said Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo.

MOTI says work will not occur over holiday weekends, and staff will be monitoring traffic throughout the duration of the project to ensure any delays related to construction are minimal. However, motorists are advised to allow for extra time and are reminded to obey traffic control personnel and construction speed limits, and watch for workers and highway message boards.

Approximately 6,000 vehicles per day cross the bridge, increasing up to11,000 per day during the summer months. Roughly 30 per cent of these vehicles are trucks.