The District of Sicamous is sending a letter to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) aimed at expediting replacement of the R.W. Bruhn Bridge, a project that began in 2017.
Anderson said after a meeting the district had with MOTI and although the project is on budget, it faces setbacks still and she was left feeling like the project isn’t moving along fast enough.
“The shape of the bridge is a serious safety concern for east and westbound traffic,” Anderson said at the Jan. 11 Sicamous council meeting.
“It’s not just a bridge, it is the Trans-Canada Highway.”
Anderson’s letter mentioned bridge closures and delays impact the public’s ability to access essential and emergency services.
She refers to a multi-vehicle crash that occurred on the bridge over the summer which caused damage to the westbound guardrail. It received a temporary repair that she said was not safe.
As well, the letter details instances of cement breaking off the bridge and falling to the area underneath where pedestrians often walk along.
Included with the district’s submission to the ministry is a letter from Sicamous Sgt. Murray McNeil, detailing every report involving a motor vehicle collision, road hazard or incident in the Sicamous RCMP’s database that mentions the bridge.
There were 17 reports included from August 2016 to August 2022.
“The current outdated bridge is a hazard that residents of the area, tourists and commercial truckers have had to endure for too long,” said McNeil in his letter.
He listed concerns about the bridge that include its narrow width, which leaves little room for travellers to pass each other, the fact there is no space for a driver to turn and avoid a collision if another vehicle veers from its path at all, and the risk of trying to make a left turn at the end of the bridge onto Old Spallumcheen Road.
He also mentioned the danger pedestrians face when trying to cross the bridge on the narrow sidewalk.
Anderson said in the council meeting that Minister for Municipal Affairs Anne Kang would be visiting Sicamous in the coming weeks, and stressed the importance of showing her the bridge in person and explaining its importance.
The district will be seeking support for the letter from the Splatsin, Adams Lake and Neskonlith bands, Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo and Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
Council voted in favour of sending the letter to the ministry immediately, hoping to prioritize and expedite the bridge replacement project.
Up to Jan. 15, The R.W. Bruhn bridge only had a single alternating lane open for traffic while permanent guardrail repairs were being done.