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.

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

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Syringes prepared with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Long Beach, Calif., Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Walk-ins welcome at upcoming G.W. Secondary vaccine clinic

Second consecutive Saturday Fraser Health has scheduled a same-day clinic in a Chilliwack school

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)
New reports breathe life into efforts to save the Hope Station House

The documents were presented to District of Hope Council at a meeting June 14

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Most Read