Here's the latest correspondence from Minister Dixon that I received from Minister Hassard's office.
What stands out is the fact that YG has allotted $160,000 for strictly the design work for Phase 2. The design work includes not only new stairs and "necessary" decking, but NEW CABLE and ANCHORS (capitals added).
The cables were not replaced during the repairs to the towers, and they were deemed perfectly capable of holding up the bridge – surely these existing cables can keep the bridge deck from swaying, too.
At the August 28, 2014 meeting with YG officials in Ross River, Phase 2 was to involve TIGHTENING the sway cables, construct new stairs, and fix any decking as required.
As you can read in the letter, Minister Dixon further states that once the "design" work is complete, that future funding sources to actually construct the design will be sought.
As I understand, the $1.4 million Minister Dixon mentions as spent for Phase 1 was in partnership with monies received from the Government of Canada’s Building Canada Fund (at $42 million per year!), and with these monies, the bridge project was initially budgeted for $1.75 million as indicated below.
Interestingly, the tender was awarded for $1.275 million as this news release confirms.
So with about $350,000 of monies leftover from the initial funding of $1.75 million, and with $160,000 allotted for design work, there remains $190,000 for the actual construction costs.
I am no expert with respect to tender processes nor design work, but stating that monies have been allotted indicates that there hasn't been any movement to actually secure a company to create such design work (the stairs? the anchors?), which means that the bridgework enabling its use by tourists and community members will be delayed.
I am grateful that the proposed work will preserve the heritage look of the bridge, but to not have it available for use this year seems a shame.
Having said that, my perspective may just be a tad negative, and that the tender for the design work is in the process of being released shortly, enabling the physical work to begin later this season, thus reopening the bridge to pedestrian use this year.
Hello Fellow Friends of the Ross River Foot Bridge!
The past four months have seen changes to the towers. As you can see in this video (that was taken when snow was still on the ground), the towers have been replaced. And they are beautiful!
However, the more things change, the more things stay the same....
Although Phase 1 of this project has been completed, the Yukon Government still has not released the tender for Phase 2, which is to fix the bridge decking.
Plans are in place for the replacement and repairing of the wooden bridge decking and the stabilization of the sway cables, but no tender has been released...yet.
And so we wait...again.
Well, the Government did say that the tender for Phase 2 would be released in June, 2015.
There's still six days left.
Oh my, things are progressing quite well with our beloved bridge.
RC Crane is onsite with monster cranes, and Klondike Welding has things well in hand!
I took a few pictures of the construction. The team was working on the North Tower today, completing the second tower placement....
Wow. How does it get any better than this? The new towers are industrial round pipe with a blend-in rust colour that certainly looks like the papa-bear version of the 70 year-old pipe it is replacing! Magnificent.
Soon the cables will be lifted onto the new head beams. It will likely happen this week. I am soooo excited!!! 70 years ago the US Army of Engineers constructed the bridge; this year, Yukoners will stabilize it...with a little help from our Friends (Beatles song!).
Certainly, this is history in the making. Living Heritage, indeed!
The ice road is built. It has been inspected and approved. And Klondike Welding is on their way!!!
Beginning next week, the pre-fab beams and support structures will be set into place, and then the much-anticipated work of moving the cabling from the existing towers to this new home will be completed.
Although there was an end-of-February completion deadline, the delays due to the mild temperatures have pushed that date forward to mid-March. An extension has been granted....
It's amazing that less than a year ago in March, we were rallying for support to save this structure.
Feeling kinda nostalgic for a rousing game of Pelly River Curling and a camp-out!
But we'll leave the ice pristine for the crane! And the trucks!! And the H-rods!!! Go Klondike Welding Go!!!!
Thank you, again, all you Friends Of The Ross River Foot Bridge!
Thank you for caring.
Thought you might like a special present during these hectic days.
For those who have never walked the bridge, and for those of you who have, here's a special video taken by Colm Cairns around midnight on a summer day. Delightful. Take the few minutes to walk with him across this historic and magnificent bridge.
As an update: The ice road is soon to be constructed in anticipation of the cranes appearing in January to work on placement of the new towers....
Soon, very soon, the bridge will be stabilized, and then Phase 2 (the bridge decking and stairs) can begin!
Happy holidays to all!!!
Great things are happening with the stabilization of the Ross River Foot Bridge!
Klondike Welding, RC Cranes and Construction, and a Yukon Government Bridge Engineer have been on site, busily preparing the new foundations for the new towers.
The North Tower has been prepped with concrete to accept the three H-rods on either side that will become the anchors for the new tower....
The South Tower has already had the six H-rods pounded 62 feet into the ground. In the coming week, the concrete will be placed overtop in anticipation of the next stage: the new tower construction.
The ferry has been pulled out of the water, though, and so these new tower anchors on the North side will need to be hammered in later in January, when an ice road can be constructed to support the crane’s passage over the Pelly River. This crane will help place the six H-rods into the existing holes in the concrete and hammer them 62 feet into the ground. And yes, this can be done, regardless of how frozen the ground will be!
Then the new pre-fabricated towers will be hoisted in place, secured, and welded to become the new structure which will then hold the cables.
But I’m getting ahead of myself!
One caveat is that we need to have some good January, winter weather conditions to help facilitate the creation of a supportive ice bridge.
Another concern is that the North Tower will have to face yet another snow load and winter conditions without any “band-aid” on its head-beam.
Right now, as much preparation work is being done in anticipation of the work to be continued in January. There are some pictures showing the crane placing the H-rods into their new homes and the care taken by these Yukoners to help with this process. I’m impressed with their enthusiasm and professionalism, and most of all with their experience – they have all worked in Northern climates, and they all have a great working knowledge of what to expect in the coming months…and they can do this.
It’s really happening, friends – it’s really happening!
Please keep sending your positive thoughts towards this bridge: help her to continue standing tall.
And keep your thoughts focused on thick ice, little snow, and reasonable cold between now and January!
The tender has been issued with a closing date of September 22, 2014. The actual work on the bridge is to be completed by February 28, 2015.
Here are the plans for the new towers....
Here are some artistic renderings of the new towers and the bridge plan.
Dear Friends, We Have A Plan!
The meeting went amazingly well in Ross River, and the message delivered was heard loud and clear:
The bridge will be stabilized with a plan that is feasible, cost effective, and able to preserve the historical value.
After three months of patiently waiting, there have been no new developments in terms of the actual physical stabilization of the Ross River Suspension Bridge. I had hoped to write with flourish and post pictures of all the goings-on, but no Request For Proposal has been issued despite assurances from the government on March 25th for an RFP.
On May 12th, CKRW reported the following:
Cabinet Spokesperson Elaine Schiman said YTG officials, along with a B.C. Eng...ineering firm, were in Ross River last week assessing the bridge, as more information is needed before an RFP to stabilize the bridge goes out. She expects that information gathering to extend well into the summer months.
Okay. It is now well into the summer months, coming fast upon fall!
On July 31st, I received correspondence from Minister of Community Services, Brad Cathers, who wrote:
The Department of Community Services and Department of Highways and Public Works are working together on this project. On-site visits have been made by bridge experts, and a technical assessment is being finalized. Yukon government will be continuing to move forward with the project and we anticipate that work will commence in early fall.
Once we have completed the next steps towards finalizing a plan, a community meeting will be held with the Ross River Dena Council and the citizens of Ross River.
So that is that. Early Fall it is.
Of note: A big shout-out to the NDP Official Opposition for issuing a news release on July 17th titled: The Ross River Suspension Bridge Needs Immediate Repair. Thank you, Kevin Barr, for your continued support and love for this bridge!
FYI: On June 27th, The Canol Bridge and Trail Society was incorporated. Once logistics regarding membership dues, sign-up process, and meetings are decided, you will be the first to know and hopefully the first to sign up!
Thank you, everyone, for your continued support. The Suspension Bridge still stands, and it is still the longest footbridge in Canada and the United States. After 70 years, it will be important to have this historic icon structurally stabilized now before the winter weather brings more challenges.