Two bridges recommended to replace Sicamous Bruhn Bridge on Highway 1

Province and local governments favour replacement option that includes new bridge at west end of Main Street.

The province has released a list of recommended options for the replacement of the Bruhn Bridge

A B.C. government document lists a new Main Street bridge, along with new a four-lane structure crossing the narrows, as the preferred option for the replacement of the Bruhn Bridge.

Available on the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure website, the document entitled Trans-Canada Highway 1/ RW Bruhn Bridge Replacement, May 2016, provides an overview of known issues with the 54-year-old structure, as well as three recommended options for its replacement.

One of the recommended options is for the existing Bruhn Bridge to be replaced with a four-lane structure. Additionally, a second bridge would be constructed at the end of Main Street landing, and the current Old Spallumcheen Road (OSR)/Highway 1 intersection would be closed.

The MOTI document notes this is the preferred option of council and First Nations.

The advantages of this option is that it improves safety by eliminating issues related to the OSR intersection, it supports future development along OSR, it enhances local connectivity between the east and west sides of Sicamous, required rock excavation is less than the other options and it allows one bridge to be constructed while traffic uses the other bridge.

Disadvantages include potential archaeological and cultural impacts and a potential impact to marine traffic.

The document does not mention anything about future financial responsibility relating to the Main Street bridge and the District of Sicamous.

Another option is for a six-lane bridge on the TCH. With this, the intersection at OSR would be closed, but accessible to local traffic by two of the six lanes.

A third option is for a five-lane bridge, with highway access to OSR available by an interchange further west along the highway.

While both of these options fit with the province’s plans for four-laning the highway, they also come with long lists of disadvantages including concerns with traffic management during construction, high rock excavation for a wider footprint, significant property acquisition needs (with the five lane option), as well as seasonal maintenance challenges.

The document suggests meetings were held between the province and local governments and through these, an interest was identified in having a Main Street bridge to support community growth and connectivity.

Regarding project delivery, the document states the province is working towards a cost-sharing agreement with the federal government, that proposed schedules are dependent on the outcome of funding and that the project may be delivered in two stages – one being the Main Street bridge and the other the Bruhn Bridge replacement.

Preliminary design is well underway, as are environmental and archaeological investigations.

Next steps include the completion of the preliminary design, as well as a public open house on the options sometimes this fall.

Further information can be found at http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/transportation-infrastructure/projects/highway1-kamloops-alberta/highway1-kamloops-alberta-public-consultation.