Council refuses ‘rushed’ motion to remove speed dips

Council received a late agenda item regarding the speed dips at the Eagle River Bridge on Sicamous-Solsqua Road.

One bad approach to another created a bit of friction among Sicamous council.

At its regular meeting Wednesday evening, council received a late agenda item from district operations manager Randy Hand regarding the speed dips at the Eagle River Bridge on Sicamous-Solsqua Road.

The report contained a recommendation that council remove the speed dips and associated signs on the approaches to the bridge and approve the placement of load restriction signage on either side of the bridge.

This recommendation was based on a letter from engineer Marjorie Buckley of All-Span Engineering and Construction Ltd., which is in the process of carrying out a site investigation of the structure.

Though the inspection is not yet complete, Buckely indicates in her letter those parts of the bridge that weren’t retrofitted three or four years ago seem to be showing little change from the condition in 2007. She expects the structure to last another five years provided no rotted or distressed piles are discovered during inspection.

“With regard to the structural performance of the now retrofitted bridge, the dips in the pavement a) are not needed and, b) do not eliminate the need for posting road restrictions on the bridge,” writes Buckley.

Based on what they could glean in what little time they had with the provided information, Couns. Charlotte Hutchinson and Suzanne Carpenter weren’t convinced the dips should be removed.

“Is there any difference at all to the bridge since the speed dips went in? What I’m reading tells me there hasn’t been,” said Hutchinson. “That doesn’t tell me we don’t need the speed dips. That tells me we need the speed dips, and that’s why there’s no change in the bridge.”

Carpenter said the dips were put in to prolong the bridge’s lifespan. She noted logging trucks continue to use it, as will trucks going in and out of Old Town.

“I don’t think the dips hurt and I think they do slow people down,” said Carpenter.

Coun. Terry Rysz, acting as deputy mayor, agreed with Coun. Don Richardson’s interpretation of the report, that load restrictions be set up and the dips removed.

Coun. Fred Busch, however, expressed frustration over having to make a decision based on information that was handed to him just minutes before the meeting began.

He questioned how heavy the trucks are using the bridge, what an appropriate speed limit might be and asked that the matter be referred back to staff to report on at a later date.

Hand said the completed inspection report wouldn’t be available until later this year, while paving at the bridge (related to the water/sewer) could begin next week.

A motion to defer was defeated, as was staff’s recommendation that included filling in the dips.

Later in the meeting, Busch and Hutchinson once again voiced their frustration with the way the information was presented. Hand apologized, and said staff had not intended to bring it forward to council.

“During our management meeting yesterday, Mayor (Darrell )Trouton asked us to bring it forward in conjunction with the paving,” said Hand. “I do apologize for the late item, but we were requested to do it.”

District planning officer Mike Marrs stepped in and said staff could bring a report back to the Sept. 10 council meeting. Regarding the speed dips, he explained the improvements to the bridge included milling down the approaches, creating a smooth transition from road to bridge deck.

“You don’t have the surge on the bridge anymore, and that was one of the reasons the speed bumps were put in there from what I understand,” said Marrs.

Hutchinson, however, wasn’t through voicing her dissatisfaction.

“Shame for throwing this on us at the last minute,” said Hutchinson. “…But to have that expectation that we should immediately change our minds or make up our minds, all in the last two seconds, it’s unfair.“