The total cost of the project to repair the Johnston Bridge in Quesnel is now up to $11,466,000.
Quesnel City Council unanimously approved a federal grant application for 6 million of that, with the rest, if the grant request is successful, coming out of reserves. (2.35 million from the Utility Reserve and up to 3.116 million from the Capital Reinvestment Reserve)
Chris Cobin, the Director of Infrastructure and Capital Works with the city, noted that the actual cost for the bridge repair would be just over 8.8 million by February of 2023, which was up from 5.8 million dollars in December of last year.
Here, he goes over the other costs associated with the bridge repair.
“The aged water main crossing, the city water main crossing of the bridge, it’s also due for replacement. And with repairs to the bridge, should they take place, it would be necessary to replace this water line. Required replacement of the water main from the CN Rail crossing to the Johnston subdivision side of the bridge is estimated at 1.7 million, and sewer line construction, a necessary allowance for river trail and bike/foot traffic is estimated at 950 thousand dollars.”
Council also approved taking 400 thousand dollars out of the Capital Reinvestment Reserve to begin detailed design, engineering, and tender preparation in anticipation of a successful grant application.
If all goes well and they get the grant, Cobin says it could be as early as a 2023 project.
This repair would restore the original bridge capacity back to the full legal weight rating, although it does state in the report that Council would still retain the right to limit the allowable load capacity of the bridge for everyday usage.
The repair is expected to provide an estimated service life of 15 to 20 years.
Mayor Bob Simpson noted that because they will have to revisit the 5-year capital plan to pay for this project, that it could put a strain on future capital projects.
“It’s a very significant re-visit for us and I think this project, a single project, adds a high degree of vulnerability to our continued high quality maintenance of all of our infrastructure if we don’t do either a taxation or group some of them into a referendum. So I think the public needs to understand this single bridge is really putting a wrench into our capital planning to this point.”
On that note, and because of the regional nature of the bridge, Council will put in a request to the province to help out.
“The 6 million for the grant that we’re putting in is federal dollars through the gas tax. We’re applying to UBCM but it is federal dollars, so it would be great for us to do some leveraging of provincial dollars to get this bridge repaired as a regional asset, not just as a city asset.”
That vote was also unanimous.