Mayor Laurie French holds the microphone as Yvette John

Bridge ‘long time coming’

After years of debate and planning the new Kawkawa Lake Bridge was officially opened on Friday morning.

A host of dignitaries and members of the public came out to celebrate the event, which took place on both the new and old bridge.

“This project has been on the books for quite a while as maintenance costs were rising and safety issues were more frequent, said Hope Mayor Laurie French. “It’s a project that has been on the desk of a lot of different mayors, it’s been long time coming.”

While final costs have not been calculated, French said the bridge will cost Hope taxpayers far less than the $3 million share originally discussed. The project was financed with both the federal and provincial governments with each party provided one-third of the funding.

The decision to build the bridge was a controversial one from the start.

“There are people who are attached to the old bridge, because of the movie First Blood,” said French.

The film that launched the Rambo series was filmed in Hope and the old bridge played a prominent role. But despite the sentimentality, a new bridge was needed.

The new structure is wider, allowing vehicles to pass by easier, and higher, reducing flood risks.

“It’s going to be a boon for development on the east side,” said French.

As part of the opening, both MLA Barry Penner, Chilliwack-Hope, and new MP Mark Strahl, Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon were on hand.

“On a day like this, I’m glad I’m not the environment minister anymore,” joked Penner about the downpour of rain which started just before the ceremony.

He told the crowd he was asked to “go to bat” for a new bridge about three years ago and was happy to see the project complete.

The new bridge is a concrete two lane structure with bike paths on either side of the roadway and a protected pedestrian crossover. Spanning the Coquihalla River, it is built to withstand 200 year flood levels and provides access to residences and businesses from Hope to the Othello Tunnel area.

Now that the new bridge is officially open, plans are in the works to take down the old bridge later this summer.

Just Posted

Another successful year for Chilliwack’s ‘We Got Your Back’ backpack program

Sponsored by local businesses, program stocks backpacks with school supplies for students in need

Group forms in Hope to respond to homelessness, trauma and addictions

Homelessness Action Response Table (HART) full of local, regional, provincial movers and shakers

B.C. man facing first-degree murder charge in death of Belgian tourist

Amelie Sakkalis’ body was found on Aug. 22 near Boston Bar

New ‘meowyoral’ race featuring felines announced by Chilliwack animal shelter

Organizers hope the cat election will generate attention for both the shelter and municipal election

UFV hosts revitalized Literary Festival featuring some of its previous writers-in-residence

Taking over Mission’s festival, UFV hopes its Literary Festival will be just as popular

64 cats seized from ‘bad situation’ now in BC SPCA care

The surrender is part of an ongoing animal cruelty investigation with BC SPCA Special Constable

B.C. hockey product eyes shot at Olympic spot with China

Fletcher is one of 24 who travelled to Shenzhen, China for the first official Olympic dev camp.

Are you feeling lazy? That’s OK – it’s just science

UBC study shows that humans are hardwired to prefer being sloth-like

LETTER: Who do we blame for the tragedy of Marrisa Shen’s death?

The B.C. girl was killed in a Burnaby park last July

Competition tribunal to hear B.C.-based case on airline food starting in October

The competition commissioner argued Vancouver airport authority had exploited its market position

Seek compromise with U.S. on cannabis at border, lawyers urge Ottawa

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency sent tremors through Canada’s burgeoning cannabis sector

Trudeau says Canada wants to see ‘movement’ before signing revised NAFTA deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is back in Washington in search of a way to bridge divide

Young people need us to act on climate change, McKenna tells G7 ministers

Catherine McKenna led off the three-day Halifax gathering Wednesday

UPDATE: Man arrested in shooting on Abbotsford street near Aldergrove

Nobody injured in shooting, which is not believed to be related to gang conflicts

Most Read