Let’s com­pare our bridge with an­other

Times Colonist - - Comment -

The Mil­lau viaduct in France, in ad­di­tion to be­ing the tallest bridge in the world (with its tallest mast reach­ing 343 me­tres), is ar­guably also one of the world’s most el­e­gant and beau­ti­ful struc­tures. I think the world records it holds for its construction might serve as an apt com­par­i­son for Vic­to­ria’s fa­mous bridge.

Cross­ing the Tarn river and its en­tire gorge, Mil­lau’s “en­gi­neer­ing mar­vel” viaduct has seven cen­tral piers, from which is sus­pended the road deck, via ten­sioned ca­bles.

Users pay about eight eu­ros to drive the 2,460-me­tre-long bridge, which took three years to con­struct, at a cost of about $578 mil­lion.

Our own bridge will be, ac­cord­ing to the City of Vic­to­ria’s of­fi­cial site, the “largest sin­gle-leaf bas­cule bridge in Canada — and one of the largest in the world — cre­at­ing a new iconic struc­ture and des­ti­na­tion within Vic­to­ria’s In­ner Har­bour.” About 1/60th the span of the Mil­lau, our 41-me­tre­long bridge is, by the most re­cent cal­cu­la­tions, set to cost $105 mil­lion.

By the time the new John­son Street Bridge re­place­ment opens in 2018, it will have taken about two years longer than the three years it took to com­plete the world’s tallest bridge. While the viaduct cost about $235,000 per me­tre, our short bas­cule span will cost about 10 times that, at a lit­tle over $2.56 mil­lion per me­tre.

I won­der whether ad­di­tional records we aim to set are for construction du­ra­tion or world’s great­est boon­dog­gle. Lori Wa­ters Vic­to­ria

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