Work on the replacement of the RW Bruhn highway bridge in Sicamous is expected to proceed as planned despite impacts of the COVID-19 virus.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced in late 2018 that it would replace the bridge, the Trans-Canada Highway’s crossing point over the Sicamous Channel, with a new five-lane span. The ministry projected that design of the project would take about two years and ground would be broken in 2020. A ministry representative said they plan to get shovels in the ground for utility relocation in late 2020; design work on the project is ongoing and major construction works are expected to commence in 2021.
Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz said he has been trying to secure a meeting with the ministry to get some clarification on the project’s timeline. He said Sicamous would prefer the bridge be replaced sooner than later.
Rysz noted there has been a lot of repair and maintenance work put into the aging bridge. Along with completely repairing the damage caused by a semi truck slamming into the bridge railing, and reopening the bridge’s sidewalk to pedestrian traffic, Rysz said work has been done on the bridge deck as well. He said the surface is bumpy with all the potholes that have been filled, but overall the deck is in better condition than it has been in years.
Since the ministry decided it would not be proceeding with the design option which would have seen a second bridge built over the Sicamous Channel at Main Street, in addition to the replacement highway bridge, Sicamous has been pursuing the construction of a pedestrian bridge.
Rysz, however, said the pedestrian bridge project is in limbo at least until the design of the highway bridge is complete. He noted the ministry had been supportive of the pedestrian bridge project but had not committed financial support to it. Rysz said a safe pedestrian link spanning the Sicamous channel is important for giving users of the Sicamous to Armstrong Rail Trail access to downtown Sicamous. He said the rail trail governance board also endorses the pedestrian bridge.