The bridge on Gertrude Street over Roger Creek is in need of some improvements. ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS

The bridge on Gertrude Street over Roger Creek is in need of some improvements. ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS

Bridge work planned for major ‘pinch point’ in Port Alberni

Gertrude Street bridge at intersection with Roger Street, Stamp Avenue needs work

A bridge rehabilitation project at one of Port Alberni’s busiest intersections will turn traffic into “a bit of a headache” this winter, says the city’s manager of engineering.

Repairs will take place on the Gertrude Street bridge over Roger Creek in December, Wilf Taekema told city council during a meeting on Monday, Oct. 28. This is not the same bridge over Kitsuksis Creek that the city spent almost half a million dollars widening a few years ago—the bridge is located at the Gertrude Street, Stamp Avenue and Roger Street intersection.

READ MORE: Costs for Gertrude Street bridge escalate

The Gertrude Street bridge over Roger Creek, built in 1958, has a concrete deck over steel girders, supported on timber pile piers. A sliding plate expansion joint over the north pier needs to be replaced, as it is allowing water through it onto the steel and wood components below.

“This was identified over the last couple of years and we’ve been watching some deterioration below this particular joint,” said Taekema. “There’s some water that’s been getting through.”

The city received six bids on the project, ranging from $83,870 to $380,000. Council agreed on Monday to award the tender to the lowest bidder, Mainroad Mid-Island Contracting. This is not the same contractor that took on the Kitsuksis Creek bridge a few years ago.

Several councillors were concerned about the low cost, because of such a large variance in bids, but Taekema said Mainroad’s bid was closest to the engineering estimate. The city included $200,000 in this year’s budget for the project, but part of this will go towards missing riprap underneath this bridge—a project that will be undertaken next summer.

READ MORE: List of projects for Port Alberni council includes Gertrude Street bridge

“[Mainroad is] very familiar with the type of work here,” said Taekema. “Very familiar with providing traffic control, which will be a big deal, particularly in that location.”

The bridge allows four lanes of traffic, but this will go down to two lanes as the work is completed. Jan. 31, 2020 is the deadline for completion, so Taekema expects work to begin in late December.

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