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

Details of Chilliwack councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with police taken at special meeting on Wednesday

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Around the BCHL – Trail Smoke Eater grad to captain NCAA Michigan Tech Huskies

Around the BCHL is a regular look at the BCHL and goings-on throughout the junior A world.

Chilliwack firefighter seeking to reunite Rosedale VFD’s old auxiliary fire pump with antique engine

It’s been four decades, but Pat Liebault is hoping to reunite Rosedale’s auxiliary pump and engine

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

VIDEO: Woman files complaint over treatment of cat with two broken legs

Ariel Johnston of Abbotsford says her pet was sent home without pain medication

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Most Read