(District of Stewart/Facebook)

Replacement for the Barnachez Bridge could be coming to Stewart

Stewart district council still needs to approve the recommendation on June 22

West Point Rail & Timber Co. Ltd will build a replacement for the old Barnachez Bridge in the District of Stewart – pending district council approval.

“It’s an old forestry bridge so it’s a log structure with cross ties and a wooden deck,” said Mark Sture, Stewart director of public works.

“The wooden deck is very spongy and soft, so in need of replacement.”

Stewart’s public works department has recommended that the district council approve the project award and authorize funding at the next scheduled council meeting on June 22.

The budget for the bridge is just over $172,000 after taxes. Under the recommendation, the district would allocate an extra $16,000 for contingency “to address unforeseen circumstances.”

The District of Stewart would spend close to $60,000. The remainder of the cost would be funded by the New Building Canada Fund-Small Community Fund. That is a grant the district received when it closed its landfill site and gave ownership to the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine last year.

Now, the former landfill is a solid waste transfer station, with heavy trucks relying on the single span log bridge that is about 20 years old. Sture said that’s the typical lifespan for bridges of that type.

The bridge also offers access to the Sluice Box Trail hiking path and Stewart’s sanitary lagoons.

A request for proposals to replace the bridge was open from May 18 to June 1. Seven bids were submitted from six bidders, ranging from $131,000 to over $215,000. Bids varied from rebuilding and preserving the existing bridge to a new steel and concrete girder bridge.

Specific details about the bid are not available yet because Stewart district council still needs to approve the award, but each bidder provided a quote based on using what they could of the existing abutments. There was one bid recommending new abutments behind the existing ones.

Based on the public works department’s evaluation, West Point Rail & Timber offered the best value for money. Based in Houston B.C., the company will be working with local contractors in Stewart, and is a partner with local First Nations to offer employment opportunities.

Sture said that if council approves the award on June 22, the project should be completed by the end of the summer.

“We are looking forward to having this done, it is used by the garbage vehicles and the public going into the transfer site so we are looking to get this work done as quick as we can.”

READ MORE: New technology is helping battle avalanches near Stewart


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