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Bridge to be replaced with or without help

Costs for a new $5-million Chemainus River Bridge might be footed by Victoria.

If not, North Cowichan council will borrow the money to build the two-lane steel span, likely next year, administrator Dave Devana explained yesterday.

Council passed the authorizing resolution on Wednesday based on upgraded cost estimates.

“If we don’t get the full amount, we’ll probably borrow a portion to do the project. We’re assuming the best situation,” he said.

“We’re eligible for up to 100 per cent from the B.C. Gas Tax Grant.

“We’ll find out in the next couple of months if we get the full amount.”

Staff submitted the gas-tax grant applications by the Jan. 31 deadline and put the $5-million project into its 2012 budget as a high priority, Devana said.

He slotted the new bridge among the council’s top-20 must-do jobs.

The bridge’s previous price was about $4 million. That tab swelled after a recent engineering report, he said.

“With this new estimate, we’re more confident with the $5 million.”

The new span, including bike and pedestrian access, will replace the aging, narrow, wooden structure that remains safe for use.

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