|# 2 in #29in29 - "Big Blue" The Johnson Street bridge in Victoria.|
This is a picture of 'Big Blue' the Johnson Street Bridge which connects Victoria to Vic West and Esquimalt. The bridge was designed and built in 1920 under the direction of Mr. F.M. Preston who was the city engineer at the time. The bridge was completed in 1924 to the tune of $918,000.00. The bridge is a bascule-type bridge, this is where one section of the bridge rises while a counter weight lowers the opposite end. The Strauss Bascule company held the patents to this bridge design and Joseph Strauss the Bascule company owner went onto design the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. There are two components to this bridge, a car and pedestrian section and the other a rail section. In the fall of 2011 the rail section was deemed unsafe by engineers and it was raised to stop pedestrians and bicycle commuters from accessing it. During the design process the City of Victoria decided to forego adding a rail section saving them significant funds. Approximately 30,000 vehicles cross 'Big Blue' every day. In 1999 a $1million repair/facelift was done allowing engineers to inspect and repair the main span. The Johnson Street bridge has been the centre of heated debate over the last few years with proponents on both sides for repairing the existing bridge or completely replacing the bridge. This caused quite a bit of debate amongst Victorians with their Mayor and City Council. Ultimately a referendum was held and it was decided that the bridge should be replaced. The Mayor and Council asked for designs to be rendered and placed on public display and feedback was solicited regarding the design. At present work is underway to prepare for dismantling of the rail section and the car deck soon to follow. The City of Victoria borrowed approximately $49.2 million dollars and the project is expected to be completed in 2016.