North Okanagan drivers frustrated over damaged bridge that’s gone months without repairs
The bridge over the Salmon River at Heywood-Armstrong Road near Armstrong remains closed months after it was seriously damaged by flood waters.
And that’s causing major headaches for commuters.
North Okanagan drivers are now speaking out in the hope that more publicity will spur officials to act.
The bridge has been impassible since early May. It has yet to be repaired more than three months later.
The Ministry of Transportation promised Tuesday that “work will begin as soon as possible this fall.”
Those repairs can’t come soon enough for drivers in the area.
“It really, really has shocked me that absolutely nothing has been done,” said Kristie Clark, who lives in the area.
“I would like the bridge fixed now. It’s affecting us. It’s affecting a lot of people and there is no excuse for it.”
The bridge closure has cut off an important commuter route.
“My commute to work and daycare for my son is about 25 to 45 minutes longer on any given day,” said Kari Currie, who uses the bridge to drive to her nursing job.
Those longer commutes are having other effects, too. For Clark, it means she won’t be able to provide after school care anymore.
“My commute is now twice as long so I won’t be able to catch them on the bus after school. It’s not only affected my family but it has affected about six other families in the valley because they no longer have childcare for after school,” Clark said.
Drivers are hoping for answers and action after dealing with the inconvenience for months.
“The biggest thing is there has been really no communication,” said Currie.
“I don’t think that there has ever been a situation where anyone has actually come out and had a forum where they’ve informed the valley residents of exactly what happened, where they are at and what the future plan is.”
The Ministry of Transportation said no one was available for an interview on Tuesday because officials were dealing with the Philpott Road wildfire.
“This bridge was severely damaged in flooding this spring and ministry crews continue to work hard to assess and plan for necessary repairs,” the ministry said in a written statement.
“Now that the water levels have receded, engineering assessments show that one full span of the bridge will need to be removed and rebuilt. This work will begin as soon as possible this fall. We want to thank the public for their patience while this important work is done and we will continue to provide regular email updates regarding the timelines and status of repairs.”
Global News asked the Ministry of Transportation to clarify who they will be emailing updates to.
The ministry has yet to clarify that point.
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