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New Salmon River Bridge north of Prince George will carry heavy loads


Artist's rendering of new Salmon River Bridge.  Image: BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure

Artist’s rendering of new Salmon River Bridge. Image: BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure

The Old Salmon River Bridge, near Prince George, B.C.  Photo:  McElhanney.

The Old Salmon River Bridge, near Prince George, B.C. Photo: McElhanney.

McElhanney is the prime consultant and designer of a bridge over the Salmon River north of Prince George, B.C. that went out for tender this month.

The existing two-lane bridge on Highway 97 is being replaced with one wider and with a greater load capacity so that it can carry oversize transport trucks. The trucks will take heavy loads up to the resource industries in the north, such as oil and gas, LNG and forestry operations.

The new structure is a 67-metre single-span, located along the existing highway alignment. It consists of steel plate I-girders supporting a cast-in-place concrete deck. The superstructure is simply supported on steel pipe-piled concrete abutments.

The site is challenging, being environmentally sensitive. The bridge crosses over a meandering river and the designers had to accommodate walkways underneath the bridge, as well as consider overhead utilities. The schedule was fast-tracked, requiring delivery of the detailed design in five months.

McElhanney’s design is for a durable bridge that is suited to the North, with ease of maintenance in mind. It incorporates an inspection gallery in the abutments for easy access to the joints and bearings. The design also incorporates abutment seats with room to jack directly underneath the girders, optimizing the design for incremental launch construction.

Mike Morris, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie said on June 13: “Highway 97 is our lifeline in this region…. Replacing the Salmon River Bridge so it can handle larger trucks carrying wider and heavier loads will not only increase efficiency for industry, it will ensure that everyone using the bridge and this stretch of the highway can travel safely.”
McElhanney’s role as prime consultant included the conceptual design, detailed highway and bridge design, environmental management, electrical engineering, construction staging, and preparation of the tender documents. They will also provide engineering services during construction, which is expected to start this fall. The estimated total cost of the project is $24 million. Ken Rebel is leading the project at McElhanney.