After the road collapse at Highway 6 earlier this year, Heart Creek has a new bridge.
The collapse was caused by a mudslide about 1 km from the Needles ferry in February 2015. There was extensive damage, with water running under the road and cracks about 200 feet long. The highway had to be diverted to the Barnes Creek Forest Service Road.
In a previous issue of Arrow Lakes News, it was stated that the collapse of the highway was not a technical issue.
“This is a Mother Nature issue, not a maintenance issue,” said Bart Chenuz, area manager for roads with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.
Repairs couldn’t begin until ground had stopped moving. A geological technician had been keeping track of the site. As of March 1, the ground had stopped moving, and work could begin.
Construction on the bridge began in mid-July after the contract to build it was awarded to the company Neel-co in May of 2015.
Part of the reason the bridge is being worked on is because there was a barrier for fish spawning in the river.The barrier was the fact that the fish couldn’t access the upper part of the Creek. The increased length allowed Kokanee to spawn upstream of Highway 6 this year for the first time in 45 years.
Once completed, fish such as Kokanee, Rainbow Trout and Bull Trout will have better access to the lower part of the stream. The new clear span bridge will enable the habitat of the fish to be doubled.
The bridge is 18 metres long and almost 11 metres wide. It will feature steel H-piles with reinforced concrete abutments. H-Piles are dimensionally square structural beams that are driven in the ground for deep foundation applications.
The pilings are imbedded 23 metres into the ground. The bridge deck will be constructed of concrete with steel railings.
Precautions to protect the bridge have been taken if the road ever washes out again. The creek channel has been reinforced with rock in order to contain it within the existing channel.
Construction is scheduled to wrap up around mid-November.