Traffic coming into downtown Victoria hits a bit of a crunch during rush hour on the best of days. Things are bound to be worse with the Point Ellice Bridge closed to eastbound vehicle traffic until October. Construction began Tuesday, May 21 on the crossing more commonly known as the Bay Street Bridge.
The City of Victoria says it reviewed options for managing traffic and the eastbound Bay Street closure afforded the lowest overall impacts to traffic flow while maintaining emergency vehicle access to Victoria West.
Eastbound cyclists can dismount and walk their bikes across as pedestrian and wheelchair access remains during the project. Full bridge closures will still be necessary on rare occasions during the project and will be communicated as information becomes available.
Repairs to the 183 metre bridge during the five-month closure include bridge deck repairs, asphalt replacement and railing removal and repainting. Under the bridge lead paint will be removed and the structure repainted alongside work to minimize future corrosion.
The project is budgeted to cost is $6.1 million – $2.4 million coming from the provincial and federal governments.
The bridge superstructure dates back to 1956 on foundations and abutments that date even further back. The bridge received a seismic upgrade in 2001–2002 but through regular inspection it was determined that the structural steel is in need of resurfacing.