A weight restriction on the Johnston Bridge didn’t stop the Quesnel Fire Department from quickly arriving to a fire in the Johnston Subdivision on Friday (Feb 22) morning.
The bridge has had a 10,000 kilogram restriction on it since October following an inspection by engineers.
While the fire trucks are more than that, Mayor Bob Simpson says there is a protocol in place in the event of an emergency…
“So the only protocol is that the lead vehicle, the lead responding vehicle, goes across the bridge to the roundabout, and makes sure no other vehicle traffic loads onto the bridge. If the bridge is clear, if and when it’s clear, then our fire trucks can go across the bridge one by one, taking the middle of the bridge, so they need to take the whole bridge over and run down the middle.”
Simpson says the bridge remains fine for all city traffic.
He says a report will eventually be coming to Council on what to do with the bridge long term…
“There is a suite of engineering options, everything that we can do to repair the bridge, and really at the end of the day we have to work with West Fraser to see what the business implications are for West Fraser Plywood Plan, and we need to understand the whole suite of options for repairing that bridge. Part of the issue that we have is that we don’t want to do significant repairs to the bridge if it is shortening the bridge’s life, so you have to take into consideration the long term life of the bridge, how long your investment would last for versus replacing the bridge, and we also have an unknown with respect to the bridge piers that we’re looking at getting certified, so it’s just going to take us a little while to put a proper plan in place for that bridge in conjunction with dialogue with West Fraser.”
Simpson says the interconnector project could also impact their decision…
“If that project goes ahead, there are questions about routing off the interconnector back along the road in between Lebourdais Park and the railway to access the Johnston Bridge, or would they continue up the Dragon Lake Hill.”
For now, Simpson says there are no safety issues so they have the luxury of time to make the right decision.
He says commercial traffic is still be re-routed through Maple Drive.