New bridge to Silver Valley being built

District suggests alternative routes to Silver Valley.

Darrell Banson

Darrell Banson

The old wooden 232nd Street bridge over the North Alouette River starts coming on down Tuesday, so Silver Valley residents will have to tweak their plans to get home.

The new $4.75-million steel-and-concrete structure will be built high enough to survive a one-in-200-year flood and will meet modern earthquake standards.

Once it’s complete, trucks will be able to cross the bridge, something that wasn’t possible on the wooden bridge. The new one will have a three-metre-wide sidewalk on one side for people, bicycles and horses and a two-metre-wide sidewalk on the other.

The District of Maple Ridge has been taking to social media to get the word out, especially to non-residents, about the traffic changes.

Road signs are up already, explaining detour routes.

The district put out its notice on Facebook and Twitter, said district spokesperson Fred Armstrong.

“It’s really been amazing how social media has been able to help us spread the word about these sort of things.”

As of Thursday morning, about 6,000 people had seen the post.

“For us the biggest thing is people coming [from outside Maple Ridge] to Golden Ears Provincial Park,” Armstrong said. “Those are the folks we’re really trying to get the word out to.”

The district is suggesting that Silver Valley-bound motorists use 132nd Avenue, then connect with 232nd Street, just north of the bridge construction, in order to get to and from the subdivision.

People could also drive north along 224th Street and turn east on 136th Avenue.

“The current wooden bridge is almost 70 years old and has reached the end of its life and its replacement is at the top of our priority list,” Mayor Ernie Daykin.

GCL Contracting was awarded the contract for the project, which includes improvements to the lighting and drainage and consolidation of the water and gas lines, added Jeff Boehmer, district manager of design and construction.

Part of the project includes adding a school bus route to carry students from Silver Valley to Yennadon elementary.

Maple Ridge school district will monitor enrolment and busing will be available based on demand to help people driving from west Silver Valley, Armstrong added.

“When the project is finished, then the busing will be removed.”

There will be no equestrian access during the project. However, there is an area west of the bridge that will allow equestrian users to cross the North Alouette when water levels are low.

The total span of the bridge will be about 35 metres, with no piers in the water, minimizing any impact on fish. It can also be expanded to four lanes, if needed.

A footpath will allow pedestrians to cross during construction.