Bridge guided into place, bike path nears completion

A steel footbridge linking Valleyview to the Rivers Trail was guided into place Wednesday, bringing the Valleyview bike exchange one big step closer to completion.

The 34-metre bridge was placed onto its concrete footings by a large crane at 11 a.m. The structure, which weighs more than 34,500 kilograms, was built by Anvil Ironworks in Kamloops.

The bridge made the trip from the company's manufacturing site near Campbell Creek to the site in Valleyview in the middle of the night early Wednesday. The structure was slowly trucked down East Shuswap Road, over the South Thompson River via the Highway 5 bridge, and down River Road.

Jason Dixon, the City's engineering development supervisor, said the journey proved uneventful except for one knocked over traffic sign. The bridge was trucked down the north side of the river because it would not fit underneath the Pat Road overpass, he said.

The footbridge across the rail tracks at Valleyview is the last big hurdle to the completion of the Valleyview bike path and exchange, he said. Crews will finish up in the coming weeks by pouring a concrete path over the bridge, and installing glass panels and lighting.

Once the weather warms up, the final pieces of the path will be paved with asphalt, and the landscaping will be completed. He expects the path and bridge will be finished and opened to the public in April.

The project is both late and over budget. It was supposed to be completed in 2011 at a cost of $4.2 million. Dixon said various problems contributed to the delays and cost overruns. Council was told in November the final bill for the improvements will be $5.87 million.

Darrin Berglund, the owner of Anvil Ironworks, said the bridge was not hard to build, nor was it difficult to transport to its current location. It took about three hours to drive the bridge the 15 or so kilometres from the manufacture site.

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