By Greg Laychak
After two months of construction and a month of closure, the Flood Hope Bridge reopened to traffic Friday relieving local residents who were inconvenienced by the construction project.
The span located over Silver Skagit Creek just off of Highway 1 (also known as Silver Hope Creek Bridge) was under construction since Oct. 2 for structural repairs including work on the expansion joints and approach slabs, as well as reapplying coating on the girders according to district staff.
“We have been very grateful to the patience displayed by the public and businesses,” said district CAO and acting director of operations, John Fortoloczky. “If we had tried to undertake these repairs while keeping the bridge open, the costs would have skyrocketed and the time to completion would have been significantly longer.”
The $472,000 project is part of the 2015 district budget carrying forward into 2016. The final payment will be made upon completion and successful inspection.
“The outcome is that we will have a newly revitalized bridge that addressed potential structural public safety concerns,” said Fortoloczky.
Residents are happy now that the bridge is open again according to Audrey Hilts who lives nearby the finished construction site.
“That’s great now that it’s open,” she said the morning of the bridge reopening. “It’s going full blast here this morning.”
But the closure was cause for concern on more than one occasion according to Hilts who said many truck drivers that use the route found themselves in an awkward position.
“They’d get up here right to the bridge, they’d slam on their brakes, then they’d have to turn around,” she said. “There’s no place for them to turn.”
Neighbours would help the large vehicles turn around at night when there was no visibility.
Hilts said she was surprised there wasn’t better signage or lights indicating the change for nighttime through traffic.
The bridge will be closed again briefly in the warmer spring weather to allow for paving.