Princeton’s Brown Bridge will be closed for at least a week

A transport truck driver looking for a short cut attempted to cross Princeton’s historic, one-lane, wooden bridge last Friday.

The Brown Bridge will be closed for at least a week while structural repairs are completed, according to Jamie Umpleby, director of infrastructure and public works.

The bridge was inspected by an engineer Monday, and a final report on the damage is pending, he said. “Some of the beams have shifted and we are going to have to get them back in place.”

RCMP Corporal Chad Parsons said the driver of the truck was charged under the Motor Vehicle Act with disobeying a traffic control device and exceeding weight restrictions.

Parsons said there is no apparent reason for the mishap. “Mistakes happen.” The bridge is signed with warnings of a 5 ton weight restriction and a prohibition of no heavy trucks.

While it is the first time Parsons has personally responded to this kind of bridge incident, he said it’s not unheard of.

“Talking to city workers, they’ve seen it quite a few times before and with more damage than what this was.”

Last month The Spotlight reported the municipality is considering replacing the bridge, which was built in the 1930’s. It is one of the last wooden bridges still in use in the province.

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

At that time Councillor Doug Pateman said he acknowledges the heritage value of the bridge, and understands that many residents feel emotionally attached to it.

However, engineers have advised the structure is nearing the end of its life. The bridge was re-decked last fall, an undertaking that is necessary every four or five years.

“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.”

Princeton councillors have requested a meeting with the minister of transportation and infrastructure to discuss options for the bridge and petition for funding.

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

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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