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Nelson Bridge may be widened for bikes

But the start date for construction is not clear

The provincial government plans to study how to widen the Nelson Bridge across Kootenay Lake to accommodate bikes, but it's not clear if construction will actually take place.

The initial June 18 news release contained contradictory statements on whether the announcement was for a feasibility study only, or for actual construction work.

Asked for clarification, Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson told the Nelson Star the funding is for both study and construction.

"Championing active transportation in Nelson and across our region has been important to me since my time on Nelson City Council," said Anderson. "I am thrilled to see this project move forward."

She did not know the timeline or the cost of the project, and referred the Nelson Star to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The ministry said in an email that cost and timeline have not yet been decided.

The email also said the ministry intends to assess the feasibility of the work but stopped short of saying bike lanes would be built. 

"The Active Transportation Capital Fund is supporting engineering work on the Kootenay Lake bridge to understand the scope of work needed to support an active transportation connection," the ministry email stated, adding that the fund "allows for the project to potentially include protected bicycle lanes and sidewalks in this rehabilitation project."

In March 2021, the ministry installed flashing lights with the warning “Cyclist on Bridge” above the traffic lanes at each end of the bridge.

The lights are electronically activated by the presence of a bicycle, allowing drivers to anticipate a cyclist on the bridge.

The bridge, opened in 1957, was built to replace a cable ferry that had been in service since 1913. It was built at a cost of $4 million, which amounts to about $44 million in 2024.

Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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