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4th permanent bridge opens on Coquihalla following 2021 floods

Southbound Juliet Bridge built to higher standard of climate resiliency
Construction is seen on the Juliet Bridge on the Coquihalla Highway in September 2022. (Google Maps)

A fourth permanent bridge is now open on the Coquihalla Highway following the floods of 2021.

The new southbound Juliet Bridge, 55 kilometres south of Merritt opened Saturday, July 8 and is built to a higher standard of climate resiliency.

It is the fourth bridge that has opened on the highway since December 2022.

The Coquihalla was closed to regular vehicle traffic on Nov. 14, 2021, due to damage caused by extreme rain and flooding.

All the new bridges are built on pile footings to withstand high water levels and feature longer spans than the previous bridges to reduce the effects of erosion from changing water paths over time, further improving the long-term resiliency of the Coquihalla to extreme weather events.

“Getting to this stage this quickly is a testament to the dedication and skill of B.C.’s world-class road builders and the contractor, unions and ministry staff working on restoring the Coquihalla,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The three other new bridges on the Coquihalla that have opened over the past eight months include the northbound Bottletop Bridge, 50 kilometres south of Merritt, and the southbound Jessica Bridge, 20 kilometres north of Hope, both of which opened in early June. The northbound Juliet Bridge opened December 2022.

“Making sure there are reliable, climate-resilient roads and bridges for residents, industry and emergency services will keep British Columbians and their supply chains safer and more connected during extreme weather.”

There are two remaining bridges which are expected to be completed later this year.

The new bridges were completed by KEA5, a joint venture between Kiewit and Emil Anderson Construction (EAC). KEA5 also completed the new Juliet Bridge.

More than 20 sites between Hope and Merritt were damaged during the 2021 floods. Workers were able to get the Coquihalla re-opened in 35 days.

Work will continue throughout 2023 to complete the permanent repairs to the Coquihalla. The area remains a construction zone and drivers are reminded to slow down and drive to conditions. Drivers can expect to see on-going speed and traffic pattern changes.

READ MORE: Momentous moment as Coquihalla Highway reopens 4 lanes after flood repairs to bridges


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Jenna Hauck

About the Author: Jenna Hauck

I started my career at The Chilliwack Progress in 2000 as a photojournalist.
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