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Unclear when new Rutherford Bridge will be in place

Work on the collapsed Rutherford Creek bridge will not go ahead until Workers Compensation Board officials are satisfied that no lives are at risk.



"We are working towards ensuring that both the workers on that job site and the public themselves will feel safe in relation to the installation of that bridge," said Budd Phillips, acting manager of the construction, hospitality and oil and gas section of the WCB.

A new bridge collapsed June 2 as it was being slid into place. No workers were injured.

The new bridge was being built to replace one that washed away last October during severe flooding, leading to the deaths of four people.

The WCB is mandated to get involved where there is structural failure and lives may be at risk.

Phillips said it is not known how long it will take to get the bridgework back on track. First the contractor, Spring Point Management Ltd. of Kelowna, must produce a report outlining their plans which will be reviewed by WCB engineers to make sure it is safe to proceed.

The $4.96 million bridge was due to be finished in August. Any cost overruns must be born by the contractor.

The collapse was bad news to Pemberton Mayor Elinor Warner especially as summer traffic begins into the region.

"It does affect us and we hope that they put all their resources behind it and get it back up," she said.

As it was being moved into place last week the new bridge suddenly shifted forward, dropping down about 3 metres on the Pemberton side. That caused the support structures on the Whistler side to collapse.

"There was an inadvertent and unexpected shift and the bridge slid ahead and gravity played a big factor at that point," said Phillips.

Traffic continues to use a one-lane, light-controlled temporary bridge.

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