Trail bridge over Seymour River delayed due to costs

Brent Richter - North Shore News

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An artist’s rendering depicts how a rigid suspension bridge over the Seymour River will look once completed. image supplied, Metro Vancouver

It was a bridge too far (over budget.)

Metro Vancouver has delayed construction of a replacement for the Twin Bridges over the Seymour River after bids on the project came in at double the costs Metro was willing to pay.

Metro has been planning to build a new rigid suspension bridge dubbed Fisherman’s Trail Bridge since the Twin Bridges was washed out following the 2014 rock slide that blocked off the Seymour.

The regional authority put out a request for proposals in August, and was hoping to complete construction on the new span this year, but none of the engineering firms that responded to the RFP were close to the budget Metro had in mind, said Mike Mayers, superintendent of environmental management. “We made the decision that it was outside of our budget and we collapsed the tender process for the construction for the summer,” he said. “Metro Vancouver recognizes that it’s an important connection and we were as disappointed, I think, as the users that it came in at that price. But we need to be frugal and we don’t want to overspend.”

This summer was a busy time for engineering firms with several bridge projects around B.C. in the works, Mayers said, which may have pushed up the market price.

“It’s so busy out there and there is a lack of … skilled crews that the prices have gone way up for projects that would have, last year, gone for half the price,” he said, noting other municipal governments have also been “collapsing” bids on projects that came in too high.

Mayers said they will likely make a few modifications to the Fisherman’s Trail Bridge design and repackage the tender with a replacement for a vehicle bridge at the top of Riverside Drive. That RFP will likely be issued this winter, which is normally the off-season for building firms, with construction, ideally, starting in the spring.

“We’re hoping that going out (to tender) at that time of year, we’ll be first in the queue,” Mayers said.

Metro had initially estimated it would cost $2.3 million to design and replace both bridges, as well as re-establishing all the trail connections lost to flooding in 2014.

The bridge will be 2.5 metres wide with railings high enough to safely accommodate cyclists and equestrians.

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