Construction crews will begin work next week on a project to repair and improve the Pouce Coupe River Bridge, which will ensure people continue to have safe and reliable travel along Highway 49 for years to come.
The existing two-lane, 60-metre bridge was damaged in November 2019. An eastbound tractor-trailer carrying crude oil lost control, crashed and caught fire on the bridge, resulting in multi-day closures and spill response.
The project will repair the remaining damage to ensure the long-term integrity of the structure. The bridge typically carries more than 2,800 vehicles a day in the summer.
The $3.6-million project will include replacement of the fire-damaged girders and timber sheathing and improvements to the bridge itself. Work will include removing steel railings and installing concrete parapets (barriers), widening the deck edges and enhancing the drainage.
The bridge, built in 1972, is approximately nine kilometres east of Dawson Creek. Highway 49 is the primary overload route from Alberta into the province, making the bridge a key piece of transportation infrastructure for commercial and industrial traffic.
In addition to repairs and improvements, the ministry will complete scheduled maintenance to minimize traffic delays.
While work is ongoing, traffic will be reduced to single-lane, alternating traffic 24/7, with periodic night closures. Drivers are reminded to check DriveBC.ca for the most up-to-date information before travel, and to obey construction zone speed limits and the direction of traffic control personnel. The project is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2020.
The ministry is working closely with the contractor, DCL Construction Services Ltd., and WorkSafeBC to ensure health and safety are maintained for all workers on site.
The B.C. provincial health officer has directed construction employers to take all necessary precautions to minimize the risks of COVID-19 transmission and illness to themselves and their employees. Anyone exhibiting COVID-19 like symptoms, such as sore throat, fever, sneezing or coughing will be directed to self-isolate at home for at least 10 days.
For the most up-to-date highway travel information, visit @DriveBC on Twitter or: www.DriveBC.ca
For travel precautions due to COVID-19, visit: http://ow.ly/jBGu50yVMRO