The Bruhn Bridge, where the Trans-Canada Highway crosses the Sicamous Channel. (File photo)

The Bruhn Bridge, where the Trans-Canada Highway crosses the Sicamous Channel. (File photo)

Cyclist and driver safety noted as priorities for Shuswap highway bridge

Design approved in 2018 has been altered to change intersection and pedestrian use

Representatives from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure clarified some of the finer points of their plans for the replacement of the RW Bruhn bridge.

Speaking to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) board of directors at their March 18 meeting, ministry staff provided reasons for selecting a single, four-lane bridge rather than the five lane span selected at the end of public consultation in 2018 to replace the current Highway 1 structure in Sicamous, and also elaborated on some of the project’s fine details.

The presentation was led by Jennifer Stites, the ministry’s project manager working on the replacement of the bridge. Stites described the ways the project has changed since the original design was selected following the consultation. Along with designing the project around a four-lane bridge, access to Old Spallumcheen Road will now be routed through an underpass west of the existing intersection.

Stites told the board that moving the access to its planned location and setting it up in a way that will no longer require vehicles to turn left across traffic will make access to Old Spallumcheen safer. She said the four-lane bridge was also selected because its construction will disturb the ground less in an area which is historically and culturally significant to local First Nations, and because the existing bridge will be able to stay open as the new one is built.

Read More: Free programs fuel goal to keep Salmon Arm seniors moving

Read More: WATCH: Man speed-flies over South Okanagan lake in stunning video

Also covered in Stites’ presentation is the multi-use pathway which will run from Gill Avenue to Old Spallumcheen Road via a three-metre wide walkway along the bridge’s eastbound lane. The path will be separated from highway traffic by a concrete barrier and a wide paved shoulder. Stites said questions had been raised about why the barrier would not be taller. She said the barrier’s height and lack of railing are considered optimal because it makes it possible for cyclists riding down the shoulder of the road to escape onto the path if they have to avoid a collision. She said taller barriers or railings are used in situations where cyclists are not able to ride on the shoulder.

Stites showed an early draft of the ministry’s plan to link the path over the bridge with the Sicamous to Armstrong Rail Trail that is currently under construction. The early plans, which Stites said are contingent on an archaeological assessment of the area south of the new bridge, will incorporate part of the existing Old Spallumcheen Road into a multi-use pathway. The proposed path would join the rail trail after descending the hill with a series of switchbacks. Stites said the path would have approximately an eight per cent grade, making the descent manageable for users.

Read More: COVID-19: Health officials give timetable for vaccinating all B.C. adults by July

Read More: Gabriola Island residents come to terms with work-site deaths of well-known community members

Following the presentation, CSRD Electoral Area E director Rhona Martin said the construction of a new bridge was a rare opportunity to make an aesthetically pleasing gateway to the area and asked what was being done to enhance the look of the structure. Stites said aesthetic concerns were one of the things being discussed with Splatsin and the incorporation of indigenous culture and artwork is being considered.

Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz repeated his previous advocacy for the creation of a new access point to Sicamous downtown area at Silver Sands Road. He said he recognizes the project is complicated and is glad it is proceeding. Stites replied that the Silver Sands expansion is on their radar but the ministry would need to receive a formal application for the new highway access before they can proceed with designing it.

The project is not expected to be complete until 2025.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

infrastructure

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

The Columbia Valley Wetlands are known for their extensive and fragile ecosystem. (File photo)
Wildsight speaks out against logging in Columbia Wetlands

Located 50 kms south of Golden, the proposed operation was justified as bark beetle management

Residents, especially those with yards with long grass and wooded areas, are encouraged to check themselves and their pets for ticks after being outside. Ticks have reportedly been found in Golden near the pump track. File photo
Ticks found in Golden as spring approaches

Between five and 10 people each year go to hospital in Golden for ticks

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

A North Okanagan man in his late 20s was flown to hospital by air ambulance Saturday, April 17, shortly after 6:30 p.m. after allegedly crashing on his longboard on a Spallumcheen roadway. (File photo)
Suspected longboard crash in Okanagan sends individual to hospital via air ambulance

Accident involved a North Okanagan man in his late 20s on Otter Lake Road in Spallumcheen

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

Coldstream Fire Department crews stationed at Kal Lake Provincial Park parking lot on Cosens Bay Road on Sunday, April 18, after a car went over a cliff in the area. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Driver escapes after car goes over North Okanagan cliff

The driver has been transported to hospital with unspecified injuries

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

Vernon Vipers goalie Roan Clarke celebrates his team’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

This is what’s left of a truck that caught fire at Pyramid Provincial Park off Highway 97 near Summerland Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Photo Gallery: Truck gutted by fire at popular Okanagan park, trees saved

Just a metal shell of what once was a pick up truck is left at the scene

Most Read