The Vedder bridge and what should be done with it is one of the 'top' subjects that city officials hear from residents about

Chilliwack seeks preliminary design for Vedder bridge

A request for expressions of interest from City of Chilliwack is seeking preliminary engineering designs on replacing the Vedder Bridge.

Anyone who has ever tried to get across the Vedder River bridge in Chilliwack on a hot summer day knows it can get snarled with traffic.

A request for expressions of interest from City of Chilliwack is seeking preliminary engineering designs on replacing the bridge to improve traffic flow.

“We know the traffic patterns in that area are bad in the summertime,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “We don’t need to do a traffic study to know the bridge is inadequate and has to be upgraded.”

In fact, the Vedder bridge and what should be done with it is one of the “top” subjects that city officials hear from residents about, she said.

“For people from Yarrow, Cultus Lake and Chilliwack River Valley, it’s a huge issue for them,” Gaetz said.

The RFEI process will show city officials who has the expertise to do the work, along with their respective visions, whether it’s replacing the bridge with a new structure, or making interim improvements in a phased-in approach.

The question of how pedestrians and cyclists will cross the river will also be considered, and the “dream” would be to keep the old bridge for that purpose, she said.

“We’ll have to see. The real challenge will be finding the funding,” underlined the mayor. “We can’t do it on our own.”

Bridge replacement has been the subject of three past studies, including one to get a preliminary cost estimate on replacing the bridge, but it is not in the city’s 10-year comprehensive financial plan.

In absence of a new bridge, officials have used the more cost-effective method of employing traffic flagging personnel at congested intersections, like the corner of Chilliwack Lake Road.

But proponents will have to predict traffic patterns for 10 years and 20 years into the future and suggest when intersections will need capacity increases.

Part of the challenge in terms of funding is the fact that the city is still in the process of “rebuilding its reserves,” Gaetz added.

But it’s nonetheless important to get all the advance planning work out of the way, she said.

Chilliwack will have to apply for range of grants from other levels of government to partner on the infrastructure project.

“We have to make sure it’s shovel ready,” she said. “Then at least we’ll have one domino standing up.”

The next part of the two-step process is for city officials to create a shortlist of applicants who responded to the RFEI, and then on to a request for proposals for design-build teams, which will include work plan details, timeline and costs.

“It’s good to get people talking about this,” Gaetz said.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

Just Posted

Two years jail for Chilliwack man caught with six handguns threaded for silencers

Judge rules guns found by Conservation Officer search were to be distributed for a criminal purpose

Wide variety of art for sale at Art from the Heart show

Student art show runs Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Murder victim Jagvir Malhi was not involved in gangs, says IHIT

Investigators say Abbotsford man was ‘associated to those involved’ in conflict

Blues group Angel Forrest Trio at Bozzini’s in Chilliwack

Award-winning band from Quebec performs Nov. 28

Chilliwack Curling Club moves into new building

After 54 years next door, the Chilliwack Curling Club takes over a 30,000 square foot facility.

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read