Chilliwack picks Emil Anderson to replace Vedder bridge

The new bridge over the Vedder River will have wider lanes with multi-use pathways to allow two-way pedestrian and cyclist traffic.

The long-awaited Vedder Bridge replacement will undertaken by Emil Anderson Construction starting this fall using the visually appealing steel arch design. Substantial completion is expected by October 2017.

The long-awaited Vedder Bridge replacement will undertaken by Emil Anderson Construction starting this fall using the visually appealing steel arch design. Substantial completion is expected by October 2017.

The long-awaited Vedder Bridge replacement will undertaken by Emil Anderson Construction using the visually appealing steel arch design for a cool $11.3 million.

The bridge building is set to start in September 2016 with substantial completion by October 2017.

The new bridge will have wider lanes and shoulders, with multi-use pathways to allow two-way pedestrian and cyclist traffic. A single-lane roundabout connecting Chilliwack Lake Road will keep the traffic moving smoothly at the north end of the bridge.

“I just wanted to say kudos, and this is so incredibly exciting,” said Coun. Sue Attrill Tuesday, calling the bridge design with its special lighting “beautiful.”

Council accepted the design-build submission from the lead proponent, EAC, as a late item at the Tuesday council meeting.

EAC earned the most technical points and had the lowest cost proposal, said city officials.

Since it came in lower than expected, allowing council to opt for the more visually striking steel arch design style over a steel girder design.

“It couldn’t be more perfect,” said Attrill.

The staff report explained the lower construction cost allows for extras like a Rotary trail connection, and covering costs of utility relocations.

Coun. Chris Kloot said he couldn’t wait to drive over the new Vedder bridge, calling it “fabulous and fantastic.”

He said it was exciting to have a local company chosen to do the work with Hope-based Emil Anderson Construction. EAC also constructed the Vedder Overpass.

To keep traffic flowing, the first 10 months of construction will be underway away from the Vedder/ Vedder Mountain Road corridor, with the only change a work-zone speed reduction from 60 km/hr to 50 km/hr.

Design-Build team submissions were also evaluated from Martens Asphalt Ltd./McElhanney Engineering Ltd.; and Surespan Construction Ltd./Hatch Mott MacDonald, and all teams offered bids for both the arch and girder styles.

As soon as the announcement was made, some online commenters wanted to know why a four-lane bridge design wasn’t chosen to move cars vehicles quicker over the Vedder River.

The answer to why it will be a two-lane bridge is in the FAQs contained in the staff report:

“Although the four-lane road and bridge option could deliver improved levels of service during the peak summer weekend traffic out to 2051, this option results in a doubling of the project cost.

“As such the study recommended a two-lane bridge with roundabout to provide Level of Service ‘A’ during the off peak times (September to May) for a 40-year service life.”