British Columbia

Crane arrives to dismantle iconic Victoria bridge

The largest barge and crane in Western Canada was floated into Victoria's Inner Harbour on Wednesday morning and moved into place next to the Johnson Street Bridge.
A crane was floated into place next to the Johnson Street Bridge in Victoria on Tuesday morning, as the city prepares to replace the iconic structure. (City of Victoria)

The largest barge and crane in Western Canada was floated into Victoria's Inner Harbour Wednesday morning and moved into place next to the Johnson Street Bridge.

Watch the dismantling on the city's webcam, www.JohnsonStreetBridge.com

The equipment will be used to dismantle the rail portion of the bridge on Friday.

As a result, the Inner Harbour waterway is closed to marine traffic effective immediately until 6 a.m. PT Saturday and the Johnson Street bridge will be closed for half an hour on Friday while the rail bridge is removed. The exact time of the closure has not yet been announced.

The crane barge being used to remove the rail bridge is the largest single-lift crane-barge in Western Canada. Measuring 100 metres long by 30 metres wide, the barge will fill the entire harbour area underneath the bridge. (Lisa Cordasco/CBC)

City spokeswoman Katie Josephson says people are welcome to watch the iconic bridge as it's dismantled, but should keep their distance.

"The best vantage points would be from the northwest or northeast sides, so if there's a local coffee shop or restaurant in the area with a viewing point, we encourage them to spend some time there and watch from a safe distance."

 

The Johnson Street Bridge was built in 1924 to connect downtown Victoria with Esquimalt, and is reportedly one of only two counterweight bridges left in the world. The counterweight design allows the bridge to rise so taller ships may sail beneath it.

Victoria residents voted to replace the iconic blue structure in November, 2010, with a three-lane bridge, complete with bike lanes, a multi-use path and dedicated sidewalk, to be built immediately north of the existing bridge.

At an estimated $77 million, the bridge replacement will be the largest capital project in the city's history and is scheduled to be complete by 2016.