The City of Prince George has awarded a contract to do a physical assessment of the Cameron Street Bridge.
Vancouver-based Associated Engineering and the Prince George office of AMEC Earth and Environmental will conduct a multi-stage review to determine if a new bridge superstructure could be built on the bridge’s existing concrete piers.
“We received seven proposals. We did an internal review and they were evaluated as the best overall team,” City transportation manager Frank Blues said. “We’ve set a delivery date of the end of May for a draft report. They’re just getting started.”
However, Blues said, if the team discovers something which would prevent a new bridge from being built on the site during any of the four stages of the process they will report sooner.
The team will start with a “desktop exercise” to review what is currently known about the bridge and what the requirements would be for clearance under the Navigable Waters Protection Act, Blues said.
“It has to be high enough both for recreational use and ice jams,” Blues said. “If we clear that hurdle, then they”ll do a physical assessment.”
Building a new bridge on the piers would be a long-term investment, he said.
“The concrete [piers] are a little over 70 years old,” Blues added. “They’ll access its condition and capacity to go for another 70 years time.”
Once that’s done, a in-river assessment of the foundation will be done.
“That means drilling samples of concrete in the piers and through to see the soil conditions beneath the bridge,” Blues said.
Both will be major factors in determining what kind of load, if any, the piers can support safely, he said.
The final stage will make recommendations about whether the bridge should be two-lane or one-lane, and if it could include a pedestrian walkway and water main, Blues said.
“It’ll be all brought together in that final structural report,” he added.
Once City administration has had time to review the report and decide about recommendations, Blues said, they will present the report to city council for a final decision.