Anyone driving west on the Trans-Canada lately would be hard-pressed not to notice that construction on the $40-million Donald Bridge project is well on its way.
The contract to replace the existing two-lane Donald Bridge with a new four-lane bridge over the Columbia River and build a new four-lane crossing over the Canadian Pacific Railway was awarded to Flatiron Constructors Canada Ltd in February, and construction began shortly thereafter.
Rick Morrison, Project Manager, said that Flatiron has planned this year’s roadwork operations that impact traffic to occur during the nighttime.
“This will limit the amount of disruptions to motorists and improve operational efficiency,” said Morrison. “Although, during the summer of 2012 motorist can expect some delays to accommodate traffic detours and asphalt paving.”
The project now has a management/engineering and safety staff of nine people. Including the equipment operators, carpenters and skilled labourers, there are usually about 25 people on the site. The peak work force, which will occur this summer and fall, will see about 50 people working on the Donald Bridge project.
Morrison explained that the project is still in early stages on construction.
Work that is already completed or currently underway includes clearing and grubbing, topsoil stripping, roadway excavation and embankment construction, constructing the bridge foundation for the west side of Donald Bridge, installing concrete substructures, and aggregate processing and gravel fill placement.
The Donald Bridge carries an annual average of 4,800 vehicles a day, with an average of 15,000 vehicles a day on long weekends. Over 1,200 trucks – about one per minute – cross the bridge every day carrying goods between B.C. and Alberta. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is replacing the bridges because the existing 50-year-old structures are nearing the end of their life expectancies.
The project is expected to be completed by December 15th, 2012.