New Johnson Street Bridge Opens

The next chapter in Victoria’s history begins today as the new Johnson Street Bridge officially opens to traffic following a community celebration event. 

At 46 metres, the new bridge is the largest single-leaf bascule bridge in Canada – and one of the largest in the world – redrawing the city’s skyline and creating a new landmark in Victoria’s harbour.  

“We are holding this event today to celebrate the long-awaited opening of the new Johnson Street Bridge and in response to requests from the public for a ‘community picnic’ to say goodbye to the old bridge,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “We look forward to celebrating this milestone as a community.”

With approximately 30,000 crossings each day, including vehicles, local transit, pedestrians and cyclists, the Johnson Street Bridge is one of the busiest and most important transportation links to Victoria’s central business, entertainment, and tourism districts.  On average, more than 4,000 pedestrians and 3,000 cyclists use the bridge each weekday to travel to and from Victoria’s downtown.

Located over a federal waterway, the new bascule lift bridge will also serve the marine industry, commercial vessels and recreational marine users by providing access through the marine channel below.

“Today’s highly anticipated grand opening of the Johnson Street Bridge is a historical day for the City of Victoria. This new bridge will improve overall accessibility for all users by providing dedicated access for pedestrians and cyclists and will help make the traffic flow in and out of the downtown core more efficient for drivers,” said the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “Our government is proud to have invested in this significant project that will continue to strengthen the economic growth of this region and make Victoria an even more vibrant city for generations to come.”

While traffic will now be moving across the new span, work continues for the next several months to complete the project.  Work will now shift immediately to remove the old bridge span and complete the interim treatments for public spaces at both the east and west approaches to the bridge, public plazas and a new waterfront park in Victoria West.

The new bridge is built to serve the community for the next 100 years and provides improved safety and accessibility for vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, and people who use mobility aids. There are three travel lanes for vehicles, on-road bike lanes, and a multi-use trail for pedestrians and cyclists. A pedestrian bridge spanning Esquimalt Road that connects the Galloping Goose and E&N trails is also open for public use. A dedicated pedestrian pathway on the south side of the bridge, with viewing access into the bascule pier, will open later this summer following the removal of the old bridge.

Pending the completion of the southern pedestrian walkway, more than 50 per cent of the new bridge deck space will accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.

“The replacement of aging infrastructure provides communities with long-term certainty about the facilities they depend on and better design to meet current needs,” said Wendy Booth, President of the Union of BC Municipalities. “Thanks to generous federal support, the City of Victoria’s Johnson Street Bridge will provide service to generations of travelers in the Capital region.”

The Government of Canada is providing up to $37.5 million in funding towards the project, including $21 million from the Building Canada Fund and $16.5 million through Canada’s Gas Tax Fund, which is administered by the Union of BC Municipalities. The Government of Canada has also provided a $10.2 million low-cost infrastructure loan through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Municipal Infrastructure Lending Program. The remaining bridge replacement costs are funded by the City of Victoria through reallocated capital budgets and electoral-approved borrowing.

For the latest information on the project or to view the webcam, visit www.JohnsonStreetBridge.com