FORTIN’S DESTRUCTIVE FOLLY: Victoria’s Globalist Socialist Mayor tries to pre-empt heritage bridge demo from election debate: ‘It will be heartening: having the rail bridge come down – starting to move the Telus line…’

Johnson Street rail bridge breakup starts in November

Johnson Street rail bridge.

Johnson Street rail bridge.

Photograph by: Adrian Lam,

Deconstruction of the Johnson Street rail bridge will begin in November.

The rail bridge has been in an upright position since it was closed in the spring due to safety concerns.

Tender packages for removal of the rail bridge were sent to eight pre-qualified contractors this week, said Katie Josephson, city spokeswoman. Deconstruction of the rail bridge is considered part of the “preconstruction” phase of a $77-million project to replace the bridge’s car section. Contractor selection will probably take three to four weeks.

The rail bridge was taken out of service in March, closing it to the E&N Dayliner, which is out of service because the tracks need repairs. Consultants found that the bridge’s vertical steel support columns had deteriorated.

Mayor Dean Fortin said it will be heartening to see some physical changes to the structure taking place. “There’s been a lot of work that’s gone on but to a certain extent it’s been invisible work – meeting, planning, arranging,” he said.

“But we’re now actually going to see the project moving on – having the rail bridge come down – starting to move the Telus line, deconstructing the buildings that used to be occupied by Carmanah. So it’s good to see the project underway.” The first of three old city-owned buildings on the west side is being removed and two more will be taken down over the next few weeks to make room for construction of the new bridge immediately to the north of the existing bridge.

“They were generally for storage. We had some fire equipment and apparatus stored in one. One is what most would think of as a shed. So we’ve just moved all of the equipment that was in there,” Josephson said.

When the rail bridge comes down in November, a new pedestrian and cyclist controlled signal at Esquimalt and Harbour roads will be installed.

The city expects that a contractor for constructing the new bridge will be in place by late 2012. The bridge must be completed by March 2016 as a condition of federal funding. The car portion will remain open to traffic during construction.

Replacement of the nearly 90-year-old bridge is the largest capital project in the city’s history.

A referendum vote in favour of replacement, authorizing the city to borrow $49.2 million for the project, was only passed after residents petitioned against the city’s first attempt to borrow for the project. City councillors decided to move ahead with replacement but not to include a rail crossing.

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

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