A first look at how far one section of the Grand Trunk Pathway extension west of town to the Kalum River Bridge will be was evident last week as construction began. Completion is set for this fall. (Staff photo)

A first look at how far one section of the Grand Trunk Pathway extension west of town to the Kalum River Bridge will be was evident last week as construction began. Completion is set for this fall. (Staff photo)

Busy construction season underway in Terrace

Two pathways underway as old Skeena Bridge closure approaches

First signs of what will be a busy construction season for Terrace were apparent last week as contractors started work on the extension of the Grand Trunk Pathway west of the city to the Kalum River Bridge and on a vastly improved pedestrian and cycling pathway east of the city along Lakelse Ave. to the old Skeena Bridge.

The outline of sections of the Grand Trunk Pathway are already evident as are the concrete bases for light standards to be installed along the 1.5 km route that is on the north side of Hwy16 beginning at Frank St.

Uplands Nursery has the general contract for the project which carries a complete price tag of just over $1.4 million covering all facets of the work.

Heading east beginning at Apsley and heading east adjacent to Lakelse Ave., Bear Creek crews have started preparations for a hard surface three-metre for pedestrians and cyclists.

It will be one kilometre long and separated from Lakelse Ave. The total cost for this pathway is just under $1 million — not including a separate $199,020 contract for stabilization — and other work on rock faces above the route.

But the full impact of local transportation-related projects won’t be felt until contractors hired by the province close the old Skeena Bridge as of July 25, until Sept. 2023 for the $22.6 million rehabilitation of the structure that first opened in 1925.

The prospect of all traffic coming into or leaving Terrace along Keith Ave./Hwy 16 and the Sande Overpass during the duration of the old Skeena Bridge closure was discussed by representatives from the Kitsumkalum, Kitselas First Nation and the city when they met with Dan Baker, the B.C. transportation and infrastructure ministry’s district manager.

To smooth out the flow of the anticipated increase in traffic volumes, Baker said the advanced left turn signal at the Kalum intersection with Keith Ave./Hwy16 has been eliminated.

The length of time the signal for the left hand turn onto the Sande Overpass from Keith has been shortened to reduce the number of vehicles using the overpass when the signal is green from that direction.

Baker told the meeting the ministry was confident these changes would help during the bridge closure. He said his ministry would monitor situations and circumstances in case adjustments were required.

A first project schedule called for work on the bridge to have started already but unspecified delays have pushed the date back to July 25.

Early plans to stop work for periods over the winter that would have allowed the bridge to re-open were shelved so as to finish project by next fall.

READ MORE: Construction to start on Grand Trunk pathway extension and Lakelse gateway connection

READ MORE: Old Skeena Bridge rehab contract awarded