Experts say Princeton’s brown bridge is nearing the end of its life

Council looks for provincial grants

Changes are coming for Princeton’s iconic brown bridge.

“It’s getting to end of life,” said councillor Doug Pateman. “My understanding from

the previous works superintendent was that they had an engineering firm look at it, at its last inspection, and within the next decade it is going to be at end of life.”

Council is making a formal request to meet with the minister of transportation and infrastructure at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference in the fall, to discuss the options.

That letter reads: “Due to safety standards and the age of the bridge the Town of Princeton believes that the historic bridge should be replaced in the near future with a modern two-lane bridge to better serve the needs of our growing town.”

Pateman stated at the beginning of his council term, in 2014, he wanted to see upgrades to the one-lane wooden structure.

“As it stands right now you can’t even get a fully loaded fire truck across it. They have to go up and around,” he said.

“And we are constantly repairing it. Every year we are doing something.”

The bridge was re-decked last fall, an undertaking that is necessary every four to five years.

Pateman said he acknowledges the heritage value of the bridge, which was built in the 1930’s, and he understands people are emotional about the bridge as a symbol of Princeton.

“I did propose the idea, would we be able to convert it to a walking bridge and possibly move it? [It] sounds bloody expensive. We could also investigate the possibility of a wooden themed bridge…with modern technology and modern engineering but still incorporate wood in some way, shape or form,” he said.

“I’m not sure what the rest of council feels about it but those are my ideas.”

Mayor Frank Armitage said he too is concerned about preserving the heritage aspects of the brown bridge.

“With the existing bridge we will look at all options,” he said. “We have to have two way traffic is the feeling of almost everybody.”

Related: EDITORIAL OPINION: What will happen if the brown bridge is assessed?

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