Expect closure on upper section of the Holland Creek Trail as bridge is replaced

Construction of a new bridge on the upper part of the Holland Creek Trail will begin next week.

Construction of a new bridge on the upper part of the Holland Creek Trail will begin next week.

The Holland Creek Trail Bridge, the main pedestrian bridge on the upper part of the trail where it crosses Holland Creek, needs to be replaced, and a new steel bridge will be built in its place.

“It’s an exciting project to have a new bridge,” said Clayton Postings, the Town of Ladysmith’s director of Parks, Recreation and Culture. “The new bridge will be a larger bridge that will span Holland Creek. It’s a better crossing. It’s going to be a really nice addition to the trail.”

Ladysmith council voted Aug. 18 to increase the project budget from $100,000 to $175,000 and award the tender to Heavy Metal Marine Ltd., enabling the work to move ahead.

Council had previously provided direction that the Holland Creek Trail Bridge be built to support small equipment such as ATVs and Parks equipment, and this direction, as well as the cost to build the bridge at a Q200 rating to withstand 200-year discharge levels, has resulted in additional costs to the project, Postings explained in his report to council.

The project cost includes the removal of the existing Holland Creek Trail bridge and construction of the new bridge.

According to Postings, the Holland Creek Trail Bridge is nearing the end of its useful life, and a replacement plan for the bridge is included in the 2014 Parks capital plan.

“During the planning phase of this project, it was identified by council and various stakeholder groups, as well as the Town of Ladysmith operations staff, that the bridge should be built to accommodate certain types of smaller equipment, such as ATVs and Parks equipment required to access the south side of the trail, as well as eliminate motorized vehicles crossing through the creek bed,” Postings wrote in his report.

It was recommended that the Town use the design of the nearby Bush Creek Bridge recently built in the Cowichan Valley Regional District as a model for consideration.

“Bush Creek Bridge is a great piece of work,” noted Coun. Glenda Patterson.

Postings says the original budget for the project was $100,000, a figure established from estimated costs relating to the Bush Creek Bridge construction. The Bush Creek Bridge was designed by Harold Engineering Ltd., who also provided the Town of Ladysmith the tender drawings for the proposed Holland Creek Trail Bridge.

During the design process, there was concern over the fact that flow levels on the creek could result in the bridge being washed out, and surveys and civil work of the area confirmed that the bridge required additional Rip Rap to protect it from 200-year flood projections, explained Postings.

“This change in the original plan has resulted in additional costs, due to the addition of a large amount of fill and Rip Rap to raise the bridge; as well, the contractors have indicated transporting the additional material to the location, due to access challenges, has added to the project costs,” he wrote in his report.

Heavy Metal Marine Ltd. was the low bidder out of five, with a submission that would cost $151,611, tax not included. Other bidders were Pacific Industrial and Marine Ltd. ($199,400, with no reference to tax), Surespan Construction Ltd. ($202, 835, quoted as total tender price), Seismic 2000 Construction Ltd. ($218,340, tax not included) and Copcan Contracting Ltd. ($342,900, tax not included).

This project was originally included in the 2014-18 Financial Plan for $100,000 and was funded by $13,000 of appropriated equity, $80,000 from taxation and an additional $7,000 to come of community donations. For the additional $75,000, this project is eligible to use Gas Tax funding, and funding could also come from diverting funds from another capital project, according to Postings.

With this project, the Town must meet the conditions outlined in the fisheries permit, and construction around the creek is limited to periods within this permitted window. The fisheries permit requires the Town to begin construction by Sept. 15 and complete the work by Sept. 30.

Construction will begin Tuesday, Sept. 2 and go through until approximately Sept. 30, according to Postings.

During that time, there will be a trail closure on the upper section of the Holland Creek Trail. Signs and fences will be put up to inform hikers and runners that there is no access to certain areas, and there will also be signs at the trailheads letting people know about the construction.

The first step in the construction will be to build the foundation for the new bridge, followed by removing the old bridge, and then constructing the new bridge.

Prior to that, Postings says trail users will probably see the Parks department preparing the area by cutting back bushes and removing small trees to allow access to the site.

For more information about the work, contact the Parks department at 250-245-6445.