The trestle bridge connecting Tulameen to the KVR trail is dying.
According to Tennessee Trent, manager of trails for the B.C. Ministry of Forests Lands Natural Resource Operations, the bridge has to be replaced – and soon.
Numerous engineer studies indicate “it’s beyond its effective life. It’s decades old…all the components are wood and they are all in various stages of decay.”
The bridge is open for use now, for off-road vehicles and pedestrian traffic, but signs will go up shortly prohibiting horseback riding, he said.
Still, the bridge is safe, said Trent, although it requires monthly monitoring by an engineer. The bridge replacement will have to wait until 2022.
Preliminary estimates suggest the bridge will cost $2 million to replace if it is constructed in a similar fashion.
“A replacement for that bridge would be in the next fiscal year. We currently don’t have any funding to replace that bridge because it’s next year. I think funding options are open to pursue within this ministry and maybe with external partners.”
Trent said the ministry is aware of the bridge’s significance to the community and the regional trail system.
Without it, trail users would need to travel several kilometres north to access the KVR.
“I’m well aware and totally agree that the bridge is a valued community asset and gathering place. We acknowledge that it’s really important to the community of Tulameen.”
The bridge spans the Otter River at its outlet from Otter Lake and is approximately 105 metres long.
“Do I see any circumstances where the bridge won’t be replaced? “I don’t think so. I think the bridge will be replaced (but) we don’t have that confirmed,” Trent said.
Area H director Bob Coyne said the regional district is kept apprised of the situation, but has no real role to play as the bridge is owned by the province.
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