The Elko Overhead Replacement Project is due to begin construction and be completed in 2022, and will require some land to be appropriated by the Elko Provincial Park. Pictured: The Elko Overhead in December 2021. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

The Elko Overhead Replacement Project is due to begin construction and be completed in 2022, and will require some land to be appropriated by the Elko Provincial Park. Pictured: The Elko Overhead in December 2021. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Elko overhead bridge to go to tender in coming weeks

The existing bridge is no longer fit for purpose, and due for a $12-million replacement

The Elko overhead replacement project is on track for completion in Summer 2023 according to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI).

According to a spokesperson for MOTI, the project to replace the overhead with a wider bridge that would allow a turning lane will be going to tender in coming weeks.

A summer 2023 completion date represents a delay of over half a year, with the BC Government originally forecasting a construction and completion target of Fall 2022.

To carry out the works, MOTI had to negotiate with BC Parks to acquire 0.4 hectares of land from the adjacent Elko Provincial Park – an unsigned, neglected provincial park below Hwy. 3 that is managed by BC Parks.

The park had originally been seen as a threat to the project going forward, according to some local Elk Valley politicians, with some speculating that it appeared the two agencies were not talking to each other, but the MOTI spokesperson said that the negotiations had been concluded with a positive outcome.

“We worked closely with BC Parks to ensure we minimized the land required to complete this important project.”

The Elko Park is a 25-hectare park hasn’t been tended to by BC Parks in many years, and has no significant amenities. BC Parks itself described the park as neglected, and of minimal ecological value back in 2003.

The Elko overhead, which passes over rail lines to the north of the park, was built in 1950, and is described by MOTI as no longer being fit for purpose, hence the plans for its replacement.

The replacement bridge, when completed will be a 53 metre-long three-span bridge, with wider shoulders, a barrier-protected sidewalk, a pedestrian tunnel under Hwy 3 on the north side, intersection improvements and improved signage and lighting.

“Replacing this structure will support the commercial, industrial and tourist traffic that uses the highway and improve safety for all users including local residents, travellers, commercial drivers and emergency service vehicles,” according to MOTI.

The project is budgeted to cost $12 million

READ MORE: The little park that’s causing concern in the Elko Overhead bridge upgrade project



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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