Work began last week to remove damaged components of the trestle, part of the KVR trail, spanning the Tulameen River west of the tunnel.
However, that does not mean residents and visitors will be able to use the bridge any time soon.
“The ministry currently has no plans to replace the bridge,” said a spokesperson for the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
The present project, which ought to be completed April 1, is to remove debris and compromised parts of the structure, damaged in the November 2021 flood.
“The entire bridge is not being removed,” according to a ministry statement. “Failed components of the bridge are being removed. The town side concrete abutment and the steel span that sits on it have failed. All other components will remain.
“It is being removed to ensure the bridge poses no further risk to the public, environment or property.”
Cost of the removal is estimated at $560,000.
Town of Princeton CAO Lyle Thomas said “it looks like part of the bridge is ready to fall off.”
It’s crucial to have the damaged bridge elements removed before spring freshet, he added. The river will rise, and could dislodge the debris, potentially causing flooding downstream.
“It would create its own little hold back, diverting the river and that’s definitely a concern,” said Thomas, adding that a town well is also located in the area.
The trestle is part of the KVR, and falls under the provincial department of sites and trails, while the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) is a tenure holder responsible for light maintenance, according to Mark Woods, general manager of RDOS community services.
Woods told the Spotlight decisions regarding the bridge are not made by the regional district.
Last month, the Spotlight reported that, according to the province, it will likely take three to five years, and several million dollars to repair the trail.
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