By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Dec 13, 2014
“Did we really need a bridge of such magnificence or a smaller installation would have been appropriate?”
That is a question a Brackendale resident is asking about a new bridge on Eagle Run Drive that cost the taxpayers $800,000.
“The bridge is an absolute beauty, but I’m more interested in how the money gets spent on such a beautiful bridge,”
said Keith Sones.
Sones runs a construction company and says he is familiar with the cost involved in such a project.
“You need a solid structure that meets all the criteria and this shouldn’t have cost more than $250,000,” he said.
Rip-rap, railings that introduce an element of public hazard, and a new 50-feet retaining wall all seem to have bloated the cost, Sones said.
“They simply don’t add any value to the community,” he said.
“Did we really need a bridge of such magnificence or a smaller installation would have been appropriate,” he said.
District of Squamish’s project manager Matt Simmons said the bridge was built to Canadian bridge standards and a large number of options were considered.
The high water table, a sensitive fish habitat, the geotechnical conditions that required the soil to be removed all played a part in the costs, said Simmons.
Simmons said there were also a vast amount of utilities that needed to go through that crossing: Gas main, district water main, storm water outfall, Telus fibre optics and Shaw infrastructure.
The Eagle Run Drive Bridge was built in 1978 as part of the original Brackendale subdivision construction. The existing bridge has reached the end of its useful life and was in need of replacement this year.
The staff recommendation to replace the Eagle Run Bridge came from a 2012 inspection program which confirmed that the bridge needed to be replaced as soon as possible.
“The bridge was constructed with logs approximately 50 years ago,” the staff report said
“The logs are deteriorating and there has been some sloughing at the abutments.”
As part of the bridge inspection and maintenance program, larger scale repair and replacement projects were identified. The 2012 work plan includes resurfacing the Cheakamus River Bridge for an estimated cost of $400,000.
Staff, however, were of the opinion that funds from Cheakamus Bridge resurfacing project be transferred to the immediate design and construction of a new bridge on Eagle Run Drive.
In 2013, the district introduced a bridge inspection program and rehabilitated the Cheakamus Bridge deck last year.
Sones, meanwhile, says he supports investment in infrastructure. He hopes, however, the district isn’t wasting the taxpayers’ hard-earned money on fancy projects.
“If there is cost overruns on this project, then what other project in the community are we ignoring because of this one bridge,” he said.