Only small emergency vehicles and pedestrians are, for the time being, allowed to cross a bridge east of Enderby.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure closed the Baxter Bridge at the north end of Trinity Valley Road Monday, Nov. 9, after learning of a serious structural issue.
“At this time the bridge is close to all vehicle traffic with the exception of small emergency vehicles following strict safety protocol,” said Chad Marsh, bridge area manager for Okanagan-Shuswap with the ministry.
“There will be signage and concrete barrier placed at each end of the bridge as well as signs placed at the ends of Trinity Valley Road and the start of Enderby Mabel Lake Road.”
The closure will affect all vehicles except for small emergency vehicles (ie: ambulance, police) following strict protocol and is anticipated to last three-to-six weeks, said the ministry in a release late Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 10.
Access across the bridge will be maintained for pedestrian and cyclist traffic. Ministry staff is exploring options to reduce the repair time and have the bridge open to traffic sooner.
Baxter Bridge is a Howe Truss wooden structure, and one of the support trusses failed through normal use, compromising the load-bearing capability of the bridge.
The failure was identified Monday, Nov. 9, during a ministry inspection and confirmed by a ministry structural engineer the same day.
“The safety of the public is the ministry’s top priority,” said the release. “Regular inspections are conducted on all bridges to ensure safety and that’s how this closure came about.”
Project development for the replacement of the bridge is underway.
The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District has been notified and is making arrangements for affected students/staff. People are asked to contact the school board, said Marsh, if people have busing questions.
This story has been updated Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 4:50 p.m. to include ministry response