Point Ellice Bridge slated for maintenance upgrades in 2020

For the first time in 18 years, the Point Ellice Bridge, commonly known as the Bay Street Bridge, will be getting some maintenance upgrades.

Philip Bellefontaine, Assistant Director of Transportation for the City of Victoria, says there will be extensive work, but it won't be as extreme as replacing the bridge.

"It is planned, it's maintenance work. It's repairing the road, lifting the pavement up and repairing it.  While we're there we want to make sure the bridge is in good condition.  We're going to be looking at the concrete deck below, patching that, repairing that.  What we also are doing is looking at all the exposed steel on the bridge as well.  Stripping off all the old paint, removing any rust, and re-painting it." 

He says there will also be upgraded LED street lights and new hand rails installed.

The bridge has had minor maintenance construction done on it over the past years, but it hasn't had a full upgrade since 2002, when it underwent a seismic upgrade.  Bellefontaine says the time  has come to do some repairs.

"The bridge is safe, it's in very good condition, but it's at a point where the time has come where we need to come along and do some repairs.  And we need to do them now because if we wait a few years, it's a bit like painting your house, if you don't do it at the right time, it gets more expensive."

Bellefontaine says city engineers estimated the project will cost around $5 million, but the Federal and Provincial Government are chipping in $1.2 million each to help get the job done.  He says they are currently in the live tender process, so the $5 million figure may change

"We are now waiting for different contractors to come back to us to do the work.  So it's difficult to say exactly what the price may be, it may be different to that.  We have to wait until the end of November, when those prices come in."

He says the tender closes in September, and construction is slated to begin in May 2020, with plans to be finished by December.

Bellefontaine says most of the work will be under the bridge and won't impact traffic, but for two months they will be working on the road, and traffic won't be able to come into Victoria during that time.

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