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[Old Johnson Street Bridge] Design and technical discussion


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#1 mat

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 09:11 PM

Interesting debate - seems from the TC article, this thread, and conversations around town there are diverse opinions. Is it taken as an article of faith that a bridge will always be in place in that location? If so, think of how that might become and iconic attraction (with functionality).

A photo rendition of one possibility from the TC.



This is just one example - (I think there could be better options).

If a repair will cost $20-30 million, and a new bridge not far off that price, it seems clear what to aim for.

#2 UrbanRail

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 09:39 PM

So a return to the first bridge which was a swing bridge. Also in the picture, the tracks are on the other side, which means a new station would have to be built.

#3 UrbanRail

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 09:40 PM

Something like this?



#4 Holden West

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 10:26 PM

From Gordon Price's blog about what would be a good bridge for Vancouver's False Creek:

The swan:

Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam.



According to the Wayfaring Travel Guide:

The 808 metre long bridge has a 139 metre-high asymmetrical pylon, earning the bridge its nickname of “The Swan” by locals because of its graceful posture over the water. The southern span of the bridge has a 89 metre long bascule bridge for ships that cannot pass under the bridge. The bascule bridge is the largest and heaviest in West Europe and has the largest panel of its type in the world. The bridge was officially opened by Queen Beatrix on 6.09. 1996, having cost about 75 million Euros to construct.

It’s time to put together a task force to really explore the options and not lose a chance to build something truly great - and affordable.

Dino the dinosaur? Or Cadborosaurus?:


"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#5 amor de cosmos

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 07:26 AM

Four visions of a new Johnson Street Bridge
By Bill Cleverley, Victoria Times Colonist
April 2, 2009

It’s like trying to decide whether to pump more cash into a beater car or bite the bullet and buy new.

A refurbished Johnson Street Bridge would cost between $25 million and $30 million and last another 40 years, while a new bridge would cost $35 million to $40 million and likely last 100 years, Victoria councillors were told Thursday.

“Do we spend $25-to-$30 million to rehabilitate a bridge that in 40 years we’re going to have to replace and spend another $50 million, or do you spend $35-to-$40 million to have a bridge that lasts 100 years? It’s a difficult place to be,” Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin said.

Only in this case, the decision has to be made quickly if the city is to have any hope of tapping into federal-provincial stimulus dollars that could cover two-thirds of the cost.

“Clearly, getting two thirds-funding for a $30-to-$40-million project is extremely important and we need to understand that these are new dollars. This isn’t something that’s sitting in our capital replacement fund. We’re going to have to go find it,” Fortin said.

Councillors will consider the issue again in two weeks, when staff provide more technical details on available options, funding sources and timelines.

It won’t be an easy decision.

The fate of the landmark 85-year-old blue bridge raises a host of issues, including the structure’s heritage value, seismic vulnerability, accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists, road alignment, closure during repair, municipal borrowing, and marine, vehicle and rail traffic.

An assessment by consultants Delcan Corp. found the bridge will fail in an earthquake of any significance. Not only does it sit on timber piles that are expected to perform poorly, the laced steel beams are old and tired.

The bridge deck could unlock and open in a quake and the counterweight would collapse.

The concrete substructure is eroded, steel plates and rivet heads are significantly rusted and corroded and the deck coating has exceeded its lifespan. In addition, the electrical work is obsolete and near the end of its life and the mechanical equipment is 80 years old, with some parts getting hard to find, the assessment says.

The consultants estimate it would take 18 months to two years to refurbish the bridge and two to four years to replace it.

Councillors were presented with four preliminary designs for a replacement bridge. Like the existing bridge, the proposed designs all include a segment that swings or lifts out of the way to allow large vessels to pass.

Coun. Lynn Hunter said it’s urgent that council make a decision. “When we talk about an ‘eroded concrete substructure,’ for even those of us who don’t have an engineering degree, those are alarming words,” she said.

But Coun. Pam Madoff said the only urgency involved is in chasing senior government grant dollars.

“The bridge is not about to fall down,” Madoff said. “What we’re trying to plan for is that one-in-how-many-hundreds-of-years event that may hit Victoria and if it hits Victoria, it may affect the bridge.”

Designed by Joseph Strauss, who designed the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the blue bridge was built for about $1 million.

Opened in 1924, it is one of only a handful of bascule bridges left in Canada. It has become part of the city’s culture, and appears in such names as the Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre company, Spinnaker’s Brewpub’s Blue Bridge Double IPA beer and the book Beyond the Blue Bridge: Stories from Esquimalt.

http://www.timescolo...8074/story.html

& here are the other pics

double-leaf bascule


simple swing


single-leaf bascule


#6 Holden West

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 07:33 AM

That last one looks like it would need a lot of power to lift it. The great thing about The Johnson St. Bridge is the big counterweight, which means you only need a couple of 75 hp motors to lift it.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#7 Mike K.

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 08:52 AM

None of those designs are inspiring. In fact I'm siding with G-man on this one and not getting my hopes up.

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#8 G-Man

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 10:38 AM

So Spencer Interchange is estimated to cost 30 million and we think we are going to get a nice landmark drawbridge for 40 million.

Forget it.

Unless we are spending in the 70 - 100 million range for the bridge and road lead up work; we are going to get a concrete and steel overpass that goes up and down!!

#9 yodsaker

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 11:29 AM

Uninspiring, generic, lowest-dollar suggestions in the T-C today.
Heritage and character cost a bit more but they add to the city. Take those things away and eventually every city looks the same.
When its gone its gone.

#10 Bob Fugger

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 12:40 PM

None of those designs are inspiring. In fact I'm siding with G-man on this one and not getting my hopes up.


I agree with you two. BORING! Vishnu forbid we erect something as aesthetically pleasing as is functional.

I also like the idea of putting a toll on the bridge for non-Victoria residents. We keep getting shafted because our collective of little fifedoms can't play in the sandbox.

#11 amor de cosmos

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 01:23 PM

doesn't this look simpler than what's already there!!!



#12 Ginger Snap

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 02:01 PM

alright, i was initially in favour of getting a new bridge, but after seeing those renderings i change my mind. 30-40 more years of big blue is worth the 30 million.


Dean Fortin was on CFAX/ A Channel this morning saying that those renderings are not the options that the City is considering (if they were to go with replacement) in terms of esthetics, rather just the type of bridge (swing vs lift, etc). He said that any replacement bridge would be iconic, so those TC renderings are a bit of a red herring.

#13 UrbanRail

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 04:47 PM

Dean Fortin was on CFAX/ A Channel this morning saying that those renderings are not the options that the City is considering (if they were to go with replacement) in terms of esthetics, rather just the type of bridge (swing vs lift, etc). He said that any replacement bridge would be iconic, so those TC renderings are a bit of a red herring.


I knew they werent the final design.

#14 UrbanRail

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 09:19 PM

Another possible setup.



The approaches on the Downtown side will require some new and intelligent thinking. Pandora should be reduced to one lane from Douglas St to the bridge and Johnson St also reduced to one lane to Douglas St, except for parking and turning lanes. The new bridge would include two lanes (one westbound and one eastbound) with sidewalks and cycling lanes on both sides. The Rail part would be single track and realigned better with Pandora Ave.

#15 aastra

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 09:36 PM

Good job. That makes a compelling case. Question: is there any configuration that would make it possible to put a fixed bridge there?

#16 Phil McAvity

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 09:42 PM

^The only way they could do that is to measure the height of the tallest ship/boat that sails through while factoring in the tides and then make the bridge higher than that. Good luck because there is a endless variety of boats that go under that bridge.

Anyone who has trouble with the existing turn should not be operating a motor vehicle, period. Anywhere, at any time.

Is the average driver really so unskilled? If so, then reconfiguring the route so that unskilled drivers are tempted to go faster would seem to be the last thing we should want to do.


I have no idea how skilled or unskilled the people were that got into the myriad accidents that have happened at that curve, all I know is that there is not, nor has there ever been, any need for that sharp turn had the city planners back then and the designers of the E & N had two IQ points to rub together.

You are really starting to sound like another one of these wingnuts that think it's a good thing we all make unecessary turns and drive unecessarily slow. :confused: We absolutely should redesign that so that people can get where they are going as quickly and easily as possible.
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#17 aastra

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 10:50 PM

I don't know what the story is behind the existing alignment but I think we can safely assume that the curve doesn't exist because some stupid bureaucrat ~100 years ago arbitrarily decided that it should exist.

...all I know is that there is not, nor has there ever been, any need for that sharp turn...


Since automobiles came along well after the railway, I have to think that the curved road and the short rail overpass were introduced simply to keep the two modes safely apart. You know, so people could go fast without the bother of needing to pay attention.

The original bridge was a rail bridge only, yes? So then along came these new-fangled horseless carriages and the need for a new bridge. Call me a wingnut but it appears that some genius had the bright idea of 1) leaving the tracks where they were, while 2) tunnelling the new-and-improved automobile route beneath the tracks at a suitably high point, and then 3) bringing the automobile route around to run alongside the tracks, so that both modes could share the same bridge, but without ever actually crossing over one another.

Pretty good idea.

#18 Jacques Cadé

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 03:40 PM

City Announces Citizen Advisory Committee and Engineering Firm to Oversee Bridge Replacement
Date: Friday, July 24, 2009 For Immediate Release

VICTORIA, BC — Today seven residents of Greater Victoria were named to the Johnson Street Bridge Citizen Advisory Committee and City Council awarded the Owner's Representative contract to MMM Group Limited to project manage the replacement of the 85 year old bascule bridge.

PDF of complete press release here.

#19 victorian fan

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 07:59 AM

Today's TC
July 25th 2009

City hires firm to manage blue bridge project

Victoria is 'ready to get this done,' mayor says; no word yet on funding

http://www.timescolo...8086/story.html

#20 gumgum

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 08:41 AM

"...heritage expert Richard Linzey..."

Why? Blowing up the old bridge will see fit to destroy the need for any heritage expert.

I fear we may be getting some faux Disney piece of shit after all.

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