It was built in 1950 and is nearing the end of its lifespan.
The Baxter Bridge 11 kilometres east of Enderby, at Ashton Creek, over the Shuswap River will have repairs done this summer as the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure begins activities for a future bridge replacement.
“Repairs will start in mid-July and will take six to eight weeks to complete,” said the ministry in a release. “People can expect some closures with scheduled opening times, which will be communicated in advance through DriveBC and changeable message signs in both directions of the site.”
The ministry and its contractor will make every effort to accommodate bridge users, including pedestrians and cyclists, within the allowable load limits.
Work will involve installing steel pipe jackets around the existing aging timber piles, as well as replacing a number of structural components on the bridge.
“These repairs involve several components, from repairs of piles under the bridge to replacement of structural components,” said area manager Chad Marsh. “A barge will be brought in this week to begin that work. We do not expect anything other than minor delays during this week as this will be mostly set-up for the barge. As the repairs progress through the next 6-8 weeks there will be times required for longer delays and closures.”
The need for these repairs was identified during a recent inspection of the bridge. These repairs will keep the structure in safe operating condition, while the ministry continues with engineering and other preparatory activities for the future replacement of the bridge.
The ministry is planning for a modern two-lane steel and concrete bridge that will increase safety and reliability and create better traffic flow.
The ministry’s preparatory activities will continue through 2021 and include advanced project works, such as clearing the right-of-way for a future new bridge alignment and completing the final phase of archeological investigations. These activities may start this summer and will ensure the ministry is ready to advance the project to construction when funding becomes available.
As part of its planning for a new Baxter Bridge, the ministry is inviting input from all Shuswap River users, such as boaters, paddleboarders and others who travel beneath the bridge and would have an interest in river-channel access during construction.
“The design of the new bridge will provide greater clearance than the existing bridge, allowing vessels to pass under the bridge at high water,” said the ministry.
When construction moves forward, the mid-river channel will remain open for navigation except for a few very short periods to allow safe construction. Appropriate signs, safety warnings and information will be available to provide advance notice and direction. The old bridge will be entirely removed when a new bridge is open to traffic.
For information, marine users may visit: gov.bc.ca/baxterbridgereplacement.
Comments or questions can be emailed to the ministry at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The province is complying with the requirements of the Canadian Navigable Waters Act for project approvals and when construction takes place.