Canadian Consulting Engineer

New bridge in Victoria harbour lets pedestrians walk through mechanism

Geotechnical work is being done in preparation for the Johnson Street Bridge project in Victoria, B.C. Last November, the citizens of Vitoria voted to let the city borrow $49 million towards the $77-million cost of replacing the old Johnson...

February 22, 2011   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Geotechnical work is being done in preparation for the Johnson Street Bridge project in Victoria, B.C. Last November, the citizens of Vitoria voted to let the city borrow $49 million towards the $77-million cost of replacing the old Johnson Street bridge, extensive corrosion and is vulnerable in an earthquake. Victoria has a 30-35% chance of suffering an earthquake in the next 50 years.

MMM Group is engineer and project manager for the new bridge, which is to built to the north of the existing one.

The design is by Wilkinson Eyre Architects of London, U.K. Spanning almost 100 metres in total, it will have a central opening section of 57 metres long that pivots on a “rolling wheel” principle. Pedestrians walking along the west side of the harbour will be able to pass through the wheel as it operates. A city newsletter describes it as “the first bridge in the world where you can walk through the rolling mechanism while the bridge raises.”

The bridge will provide a crossing for three lanes of car traffic, a railway, and a cycle track, a well as pedestrian decks on each side. 

It will be able to withstand an earthquake of 8.5 magnitude – the highest standard.

The existing bridge opened in 1924. Known as the “Blue Bridge” because of its distinctive colour, it was designed by F.M. Preston and is a Bascule type bridge with one end rising while a counter weight lowers at the opposite end. It carries over 30,000 vehicles a day across Victoria Harbour.


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