Governments of Canada and Victoria start construction of the new Johnson Street Bridge

VICTORIA, May 17, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna—Lake Country joined City of Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin and Sean Brock, Vice President and District Manager of PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc., to officially kick off the start of construction at the Johnson Street Bridge site in downtown Victoria.

"Our government is proud to invest in this important job-creating project to replace the existing Johnson Street Bridge," said MP Cannan. "Expected to create 900 jobs and $500 million in local economic development, this project is another example of how we are delivering real results for infrastructure priorities that benefit the communities and the environment in British Columbia."

The new bridge will feature on-road bike lanes, a multi-use trail, and a pedestrian pathway, improving overall accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists and those who use mobility aids. It will also feature new plaza areas for the public to view the harbour, an improved navigation channel for marine vessels, and will be built to a lifeline seismic standard—which means it would be able to withstand an 8.5 magnitude earthquake. This is the highest standard in the current bridge design code for Canada. A public art piece and new public green space are planned enhancements to the area as a result of the bridge project.

"This is an exciting day in the City of Victoria," noted Mayor Fortin. "The new Johnson Street Bridge will vastly improve cycling, walking and driving options to and from downtown for generations. It will contribute to the economic growth of our region by providing employment opportunities and improved infrastructure in our city."

The area near the existing Johnson Street Bridge is now an active construction site. The public can expect to see more crews and equipment arriving over the coming weeks. A temporary trestle will soon be built on the north east side of the bridge to support cranes and equipment to build the new bridge.

The current bridge will remain open to pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles, and marine traffic until the new bridge opens to traffic in late 2015.

"PCL is excited to be a part of the team to build this new iconic bridge. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our team," said Mr. Brock. "From the outset, our involvement has been a positive collaborative effort with the city and its partners, and we look forward to building on that spirit."

The new bridge will be the largest single-leaf bascule lift bridge in Canada - and one of the largest in the world - creating a new iconic structure and destination within Victoria's Inner Harbour. A bascule bridge is a bridge that includes a lift section to provide clearance for boat traffic.

PCL Constructors Westcoast has been recruiting locally for contractors and trades positions. The Urban Development Institute estimates that construction of the new bridge will have long-term local economic benefits in excess of $500 million. This includes economic benefits from new development and overall revitalization of the area.

The overall budget for the replacement of the Johnson Street Bridge is $92.8 million. The Government of Canada is providing up to $37.5 million in funding towards the project, including $21 million from the Building Canada Fund and $16.5 million through Canada's Gas Tax Fund. The Government of Canada has also provided a $10.2 million low-cost infrastructure loan through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Municipal Infrastructure Lending Program. The remaining bridge replacement costs are funded by the City of Victoria through reallocated capital budgets and electoral-approved borrowing.

Canada's Economic Action Plan 2013 focuses on creating new opportunities for jobs creation, growth, and long-term prosperity for Canadians. Strengthening infrastructure across the country is an important part of this strategy. Thanks to the Government of Canada's leadership, and our strong economic and financial fundamentals, the Canadian economy has recovered from the global recession better than most other industrialized countries. Since July 2009, Canada's economy has created over 900,000 net new jobs - the strongest job growth among G-7 countries over the recovery. Find out more about the opportunities in the Economic Action Plan 2013 at www.budget.gc.ca/2013/home-accueil-eng.html.

For the latest information on the project, and to view the project webcam, visit www.JohnsonStreetBridge.com

SOURCE: Government of Canada

For further information:

Marie-Josée Paquette
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Ottawa
613-991-0700

Katie Josephson
Director of Communications
City of Victoria
Office: 250-361-0210
Cellular: 250-217-8343

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
613-993-0055

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to e-news or stay connected through RSSTwitterFacebookYouTube and Flickr to keep up to date on the latest from Transport Canada.

This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons living with visual disabilities.


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