Traffic on the Simon Fraser Bridge connecting Prince George to Highway 97 South will continue to be reduced to two-lane traffic and a detour will remain in place keeping the two southbound lanes closed through the winter months.
A spokesperson from the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said the contractor, Ruskin Construction Ltd., plans to continue working on the project as long as weather permits and a work shutdown is anticipated from mid-December to March 2023.
The project was originally slated to be complete by September but the contractor has encountered difficulty obtaining deck panel components due to supply-chain issues related to the pandemic. That added a year to the completion date, which is now expected to be September 2023.
The $20.5 million upgrade project, which began in January, will include a full deck replacement and strengthening of the truss.
The bridge's north abutment (the structure that supports the end of the bridge) will be replaced, which will increase the current underpass height restrictions and allow taller transport trucks to pass underneath as they travel along Queensway Street and Ferry Avenue.
Other work will include widening shoulders and replacing the existing railings on both sides of the bridge with crash-tested bridge barriers.
An estimated 18,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day.
The original bridge was built in 1963 as part of Highway 97, which is the main north-south highway route through Prince George.
The bridge was twinned in In 2009 with the completion of an adjacent two-lane corridor that serves as the northbound crossing, which brought the bridge up to its current four-lane capacity.