Pacheedaht member Russell Jones

Pacheedaht member Russell Jones

New Sombrio Bridge opens

New bridge should bolster tourism and provide more safety for motorists

The long-awaited Sombrio Bridge, which is expected to increase motorist safety and bolster economic tourism, opened to the public on Monday.

The Sombrio Bridge replaces a 55-year-old single-lane, wooden structure and eliminates a narrow and dangerous switch back on Highway 14.

The two-lane, steel and concrete bridge is east of Port Renfrew and measures 124 metres long.

“This bridge which we’re about to open will replace the nastiest switch back possibly in North America,” said Mike Hicks, Juan de Fuca regional director, at a press conference on Dec. 9.

“This bridge will immediately prevent many motorcycle accidents and deaths attributed to the switch back, and will finally secure the safety of the Port Renfrew and Pacheedaht children travelling every day to school.”

The opening of the Sombrio Bridge also marks the completion of the Pacific Marine Circle Route, which Hicks said will, “guarantee economic prosperity for years for Port Renfrew, Jordan River and the Juan de Fuca.”

Ida Chong, Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA, said she was pleased the provincial government identified the Sombrio Bridge as a priority.

“We are here to celebrate and the celebration is: $12.6 million went into making sure the Sombrio Bridge project was complete,” she said.

“For South Vancouver Island, $12.6 million is a substantial amount and I’m very glad… this particular road was the road that was one of the priorities of our government.”

In addition to providing safer passage to tourists, residents and commercial traffic, Chong said the Sombrio Bridge could also serve as an alternative to the Malahat.

“Should there be unfortunate incidents where the Malahat has to be closed down, this can be, although may not be as publicized, an alternative to the route to get back in the South Island.”

Ron Gibbins, Port Renfrew BC Ambulance unit chief, said the road improvements will decrease motor-vehicle accidents, and greatly improve safety for emergency personnel and patients.

“Driving down that section of highway (the switch back) in the middle of the night in a snowstorm with a patient and a partner in the back, it’s not for the faint of heart.”

He said in just over a year, an area leading up to the switch back had about 14 motorcycle accidents.

The $12.6 million Sombrio Bridge project also included the repair and resurfacing of 5.4 kilometres of Highway 14, east of Sombrio to Lines Creek.

The project, which the province started in 2009, also includes a viewpoint 500 metres north of the Sombrio Bridge, overlooking the Olympic Peninsula.

Windley Contracting was contracted to complete the project, which created over 125 jobs.

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

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file photo)
Bylaw officers called to Saanich park for COVID-19 protocol violations on pickleball court

Raquet sport players reminded to avoid doubles play amid pandemic

Victoria police are asking for help locating Izabel Villeneuve, 14, who was last seen Jan. 19. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police seek help locating missing 14-year-old

Izabel Villeneuve was last seen in the morning of Jan. 19

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Vancouver Island this weekend

Snow on Malahat to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Reader’s Lens
The surf’s up at Whiffin Spit. Joan Stiebel snapped this photo on a recent windy day in Sooke. To submit a photo to Reader’s Lens, please email editor@sookenewsmirror.com. (Contributed photo)
Reader’s Lens

Reader’s Lens The surf’s up at Whiffin Spit. Joan Stiebel snapped this… Continue reading

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm, the company’s final B.C. operation to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is questioning a government decision to phase out salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)
Canadian Federation of Agriculture backs B.C. salmon farmers

Letter to prime minister calls for federal “champion” for aquaculture growth

Most Read