No offence to Sicamous’ future roundabout/traffic circle, but it’s fairly safe to say the replacement of the Bruhn Bridge will be the biggest road infrastructure project the community has seen in a long time.
There is no denying the bridge is due for replacement.
The structure looks like a zombie-version of its former self, with missing concrete exposed rebar all over (much of this was the result of structural work that took place in 2011 after a three-foot long by three-inch thick piece of concrete broke off the outside deck and fell into a boat travelling below).
Most of us have been stopped in traffic on either end of the bridge at one time or another as Highways crews do their not-infrequent patching/maintenance on the bridge.
Anyone who has ever walked across the structure during heavy traffic knows how stable it feels.
And then there’s the Old Spallumcheen Road turnoff, which may have sort have been OK for the traffic volumes of the 1960s (the bridge opened in 1962 as the Sicamous Narrows Bridge, and was renamed the R.W. Bruhn Bridge the following year). Nowadays, though, this intersection is simply a danger in need of a solution.
A Ministry of Transportation document suggests one solution is to remove the Old Spallumcheen Road/Trans-Canada Highway intersection altogether and provide access to the west side with a new bridge at Main Street (along with a new four-lane bridge to replace the Bruhn).
This two-bridge option, preferred by local governments, including Sicamous council, would provide an alternate crossing when the Bruhn is being replaced, as well as a potential community asset that would enable further development of the west side. It might also come packaged with a significant future maintenance expense for the district.
It’s important to stress that no firm decisions have been made, that any construction is potentially a long way off and that nothing will be done before public consultation occurs. It’s important residents have a look at and mull over the options. Whichever one is chosen, this project is sure to have a massive impact on the community.