Questions about two-lane Vedder Bridge replacement get answered

It wouldn't make sense to make the new bridge four lanes, only to be reduced down to two at the traffic lights on the way to Cultus Lake.

Why was a two-lane bridge design chosen for the planned $12.5m replacement of the two-lane Vedder Bridge? The Chilliwack Progress turned to the engineering department at City of Chilliwack for answers.

How can a two-lane bridge replacing a two-lane bridge possibly be an improvement or fix a perennial summertime traffic situation?

Some readers chiming in on the news of the $12.5 Vedder Bridge were asking that very question.

The Chilliwack Progress turned to the engineering department at City of Chilliwack for some answers.

Why was a two-lane bridge design chosen?

Ok right off the bat, four lanes might seem better than two at first glance and four lanes would increase capacity at the site. But it’s also twice as expensive, and didn’t make sense on several levels, said staff.

One of the reasons why it was rejected is that FVRD and Ministry of Transportation officials have stated that a section of Columbia Valley Highway, from the traffic light to up past the lake near the U.S. border in Columbia Valley, is set to remain a two-lane road for the foreseeable future. So it wouldn’t make sense to make the bridge four lanes, only to be reduced down to two at the traffic lights. So the thinking went, unless it’s connected on either side by a four-lane roadway, it did not make sense to go that way.

So it clearly was not considered a sound or even reasonable economic investment to choose the four-lane option, and it was rejected before the design stage.

Secondly it turns out what effectively slows down traffic to a crawl on the existing bridge, especially in summertime, is not solely the fact that it’s a two-lane structure.

Rather city staff pointed out what is in fact constraining capacity is three-fold: the geometry of the existing bridge, the narrow lane width and the three-way stop at Chilliwack Lake Road.

The new Vedder Bridge will fix all three of those constraints.

The existing lane width is critically narrow at 2.9 metres each. The new lane width will be 3.5 metres, meaning the new bridge will be at least a metre wider, which is a little more than three feet wider.

Also the geometric kinks in the existing bridge alignment will be straightened out when the new bridge is built just downstream of the old one.

And finally, replacing the three-way stop at Vedder and Chilliwack Lake Road will be much more efficient. A single-lane roundabout will keep the traffic moving smoothly and steadily, in a way the stop signs never could.

Also important to know is that the engineering work is underway for the redesign of Vedder Road from Chilliwack Lake to Watson/Promontory, which constitutes the approach to the new bridge from the north.

Officials are in the middle of road design assignment but it is anticipated that Vedder Road from Keith Wilson to Watson will be widened to five lanes in that section, with four moving lanes and a centre turning lane, said staff.

The section from Keith Wilson to Chilliwack Lake Road will taper to two lanes, one in either direction with the southbound lane leading to the single-lane roundabout.

Just Posted

Brother of Chilliwack homicide victim killed in Surrey on Remembrance Day

Andrew Baldwin shot on Nov. 11, three weeks after Keith Baldwin shot in downtown Chilliwack

Volunteer organization provides first aid and rescue services

Main fundraiser, the Winter Extreme Ski and Board Swap, takes place at Abbotsford Exhibition Park Nov. 16 and 17

Highway 1 crash in Langley slowing traffic

Accident happened at 232nd Street and has left one car on the right shoulder

WATCH: Paralyzed ex motocross champion is returning to Chilliwack for book launch

Brent Worrall says he is living proof that no one should ever give up hope

Rainbow crosswalk count will rise to 16 in Chilliwack

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

Union ‘not at all’ optimistic that transit strike will resolve before full work stoppage

Overtime ban could disrupt 10-15 per cent of bus service in Metro Vancouver

‘It’s been 12 years’: Father of murdered B.C. real estate agent pleads for mayor’s help

Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death on Feb. 2, 2008 in Saanich. Her case is unsolved.

B.C. woman sends fight to reduce preventable medical errors to Victoria

Teri McGrath and South Okanagan senior’s centre members presented 150 signature petition to local MLA

B.C. First Nation Chief Ed John faces historic sex charges

John served as minister for children and families under then-premier Ujjah Dosanjh

Yelling at your dog might hurt its long-term mental health: study

Researchers find dogs trained using negative reinforcement are more ‘pessimistic’

Transgender inmate in Surrey denied transfer to women’s prison

Petitioner argued denial of transfer to women’s prison was unreasonable and unfair

Adoption centre closes despite effort to save it; B.C. left with two agencies

Choices Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling in Victoria was set to close in April

Most Read