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Baxter Bridge Rehabilitation


ENDERBY, British Columbia





Baxter Bridge across the Shuswap River in the North Okanagan area is a timber Howe Truss bridge built in the 1950’s. It is a crucial link for the local community, tourists, and dairy farms. Over the years, the bridge has undergone a patchwork of repairs, resulting in intermittent closures. The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure intends to replace it with a new two-lane structure when construction funding becomes available.

In May 2021, Associated Engineering carried out an enhanced bridge inspection, and observed severe decay in the pier piles, truss, diagonals, counters, and portals. Due to safety concerns, bridge capacity was downrated by 50% to 25 tonnes gross vehicle weight. These restrictions caused significant hardship on the local community, including blocking emergency response vehicles crucially during the wildfire season. The long detour also affected the dairy farms, as the unpasteurized milk could be spoilt with the longer travel time needed to reach the Kamloops processing facility. Associated Engineering was tasked to design and oversee the construction of the emergency repair works to reinstate this lifeline to the local community and businesses.

Associated responded immediately and designed rehabilitation works within a record time of six weeks. Our innovative design to strengthen the existing portal frame with a steel U-frame eliminated the need for portal bracing. This repair solution addressed truss stability and prevented further racking of the truss system. Major construction works were completed in 16 weeks, allowing the bridge to operate at full capacity, meeting the requirements for milk trucks and emergency vehicles. Miscellaneous minor works continued without need for traffic management. The rehabilitated and improved bridge will also stand in as the detour route for construction of the replacement bridge. This iconic character bridge remains in service and is a local landmark until a modern replacement is constructed.

Associated Engineering mobilized rapidly. Using an innovative design of a steel U-frame to strengthen the portal frame enabled repair works to be carried out within an extremely short time. The rehabilitation works were cost effective and utilized local steel, timber and labour. Repair works ensured zero environmental impact by enclosing all works and using barges for access. Work packages were grouped and scheduled to accommodate local traffic requirements and to curtail bridge closures. The successful rehabilitation works has extended the service life of this local landmark, and this iconic character bridge remains in service for residents and tourists until a steel and concrete modern replacement is constructed. Sentiments for this historic bridge run strong, and the Ministry is now leaning towards retaining the original Baxter Bridge for pedestrian and cyclist use in the future, when the replacement bridge for motorized traffic is completed.

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BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure




Association of Consulting Engineering Companies BC, Award of Excellence

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