There was a long line of traffic backed up on Westside Road Monday morning, as crews started repair work on the Whiteman Bridge, near Fintry.
A traffic flagger went from vehicle to vehicle explaining the delay to motorists who were caught unaware by the construction or didn’t pay attention to the construction ahead signs on the road, warning them to it.
“We are going to be closed now until noon,” said Safety 1st Traffic Control flagger Mike Lawson to one motorist.
“Tomorrow morning, we will be closed for the day,” Lawson added.
That’s because Whiteman Bridge, just south of the Okanagan Indian Band reserve and north of Fintry, is undergoing major reconstruction, forcing long closures
According to a statement from the Ministry of Transportation, the bridge will be closed Monday through Thursday from 8:30am to 3pm with half hour openings between 12pm and 12:30pm for one-way traffic.
Crews are busy with a complete refitting of the bridge’s structural components.
“We’re doing a full re-decking of the bridge as well as the substructure is being replaced as well and the stringers,” said Erik Lachmuth.
Lachmuth is the Okanagan Shuswap distract manager for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Construction was originally scheduled for August but had to be pushed back because of the White Rock Lake wildfire.
However, the rescheduling has created its own set of problems for crews as kokanee are spawning in the creek below the bridge.
“One side effect of all this unfortunately is that we have to do the work during the daytime,”.Lachmuth said.
The day time work is so that a on-site environmental monitor from can watch all of the bridge repairs.
“Ensuring that we are not having any adverse effects on the kokanee that are spawning,” Lachmuth explained.
The Whiteman Bridge construction closures are in effect until Nov. 5.