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Princeton’s West China Creek footbridge deemed unsafe

Council approves emergency funding for replacement
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The West China Creek footbridge was constructed in the 1970’s without permits or engineering. Photo Town of Princeton

The Town of Princeton has approved $40,409 in emergency funding to replace the West China Creek walking bridge that connects ASP and Nechiefman streets.

In a report to council, public works superintendent Jim Daley said the bridge is unsafe and engineers recommend it be closed.

However, the report says states closing the bridge in the interim is not an option.

“This is not feasible as there is no alternative for school children and pedestrian traffic to get from the Corinna Avenue area to the other side of the Allison flats area,” says the report.

“Tulameen Avenue will not support pedestrian traffic.”

Daley says the foot bridge was constructed without permits or engineering in the mid-1970s.

Salt used during snow removal has contributed to severe rust and corrosion of the bridge framework, rendering it unsafe for foot traffic.

An inspection report from Watson Engineering stated: “It is amongst the most severely corroded steel bridge structures that we have inspected that is still in service; however, it does not yet show significant signs of distress such as deflection or yielding – most likely due to the stiffening effect of the steel handrail.”

As the bridge cannot be closed before a replacement is ready, the bridge will require weekly inspections and a posted load-limit of five people.

The Watson report found exposed footings, loss of a diaphragm web, damage to girders, and severe corrosion and corrosion debris.

The engineers noted the bridge seems to have significant pedestrian traffic and is an important route for school children.

The contract to remove the old bridge, and replace it, was awarded to Okanagan Welders. However, council heard that the work cannot advance until a provincial permit is approved to work in a riparian waterway, and that could take up to 45 days.

Chief financial officer James Graham said there is not presently a budget line for the request, that but obstacle will be overcome.

“We’ll find it.”

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Andrea DeMeer

About the Author: Andrea DeMeer

Andrea is the publisher of the Similkameen Spotlight.
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