Fifth Street Bridge Rehabilitation

Start: November 2018

End: Ongoing

Last Updated: October 16, 2020

Project Description:

Originally constructed in 1960, the Fifth Street Bridge is an important piece of transportation infrastructure spanning the Courtenay River. The bridge requires structural improvements,  new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. The last significant investment in the bridge, including seismic upgrading, was completed in 2012. 

October 6, 2020

Courtenay Launches Alternative Approval Process for Fifth Street Bridge Rehabilitation

An Alternative Approval Process (AAP) is underway in Courtenay to measure public support for borrowing $3.4 million to rehabilitate the Fifth Street Bridge. The bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. The deadline to submit Elector Response Forms is  November 16, 2020. Learn more


Fifth Street Bridge Project Overview

What To Expect During Construction 
Budget and Funding 
Council Reports
Frequently Asked Questions [PDF - 463 KB]  - last updated October 16, 2020

Public Engagement

Thank you to those who attended the drop-in Open House on November 21, 2019 to learn about the Fifth Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project, as well as those who completed an online survey. 

 View the display boards online [PDF - 8 MB]

Online Survey

Thank you to all those who provided feedback on the Fifth Street Bridge Rehabilitation project through an online survey. The survey closed on December 6, 2019.


Fifth Street Bridge Project E-Newsletter

To stay informed, sign-up for project updates here:



The proposed scope for the Fifth Street Rehabilitation Project includes:

  • Removal of the lead‐based paint
  • Recoating of all the steel
  • Steel repairs to the end of the deck beams underneath the bridge
  • Removal of the hand rails and hot dip galvanizing the railings and rub rails
  • Removal of existing overlay
  • Deck concrete removal to a partial depth
  • Placement of a new concrete overlay, including cathodic protection
  • Line painting

Detailed planning is underway to:

  • Mitigate construction impacts to all modes of transportation including emergency vehicles, transit and active transportation
  • Identify and plan for environmental/regulatory considerations including protection, mitigation and permitting
  • Schedule construction, considering phasing and seasons
  • Safeguard important community utilities (water, gas and tele-communications) that run under the bridge

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A multi-phased planning process is underway and construction is expected to begin in 2021, however a detailed schedule has not yet been finalized. Public engagement will occur throughout the process.

Active construction is expected to take approximately six months. The timing and length of the work will be informed by seasonal weather, regulatory requirements, and minimizing impacts to the public.

Prior to commencing any work, extensive communications will ensure the public knows what to expect during construction.

The project is partially funded by a New Building Canada- Small Communities grant. The deadline to complete the project, under the terms of the grant is March 2022. 

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What to Expect During Construction

The Fifth Street Bridge is coated in lead paint that must be removed to address the corrosion within the steel. To protect the surrounding environment, the bridge will need to be wrapped for significant lengths of time during the project. Metal scaffolding around the bridge will be covered to prevent lead paint and other contaminants from entering the Courtenay River and surrounding area. The scaffolding required to safely complete the work will narrow the vehicle travelling lanes, reducing the available lane width and height.


Maintaining access for all modes of transportation is an important consideration as options are explored in coming months.

Traffic will need to be reduced to one lane during construction and brief intermittent periods of full closure may be required at times. There may also be implications for emergency vehicles which are considered in parallel with large trucks and buses. This requires further analysis and is being considered as the project scope is finalized and a traffic management plan is completed.

The traffic management study will be completed to determine the most efficient and safe options for the travelling public. It will take into consideration technical and public input.


In order to remove the lead paint and re-coat the steel structure, high pressure compressors are used.  The compressors can produce a great deal of noise. The City will explore the application of noise barriers to reduce the impact.


Should work be completed during evening hours, construction lighting may be used.

Construction lay-down area

The contractor will require a large area beside the bridge for storage of equipment, supplies, vehicles and a constructions trailer.

Bridges serve an important role in our communities and require thoughtful consideration when it comes to repair and investment. The City is committed to identifying all possible ways to expedite the timeline while ensuring public safety and minimizing costs.

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Budget and Funding

The current estimate for the Fifth Street Bridge Rehabilitation project is $6.3 million.

Project Element Rehabilitation
Outcome A rehabilitated crossing with extended service life, with full utilization of the grant.
Bridge Recoating & Deck Renewal $4.1 million
Structural and Traffic $2.2 million
TOTAL $6.3 million
Fed / Prov Grant $1.96 million
Reserves $0.94 million
City Borrowing Amount $3.4 million

Cost estimates are based on discussions with the City’s design team and industry contractors who track recently completed projects in Western Canada to inform their estimates. These estimates also compare bridge work undertaken in Campbell River and Duncan in 2018.

The City of Courtenay was successful in securing a grant of $1.96 million though the New Building Canada- Small Communities fund, which requires construction completion by March 2022. The remainder of the project costs will be funded by the City of Courtenay.

The City may borrow funds, utilize infrastructure reserve funds, increase taxes or a combination of options.

As directed by Council, the City will proceed with an Alternative Approval Process, to secure borrowing, to help fund the project.

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Council Reports

September 8, 2020 Briefing Note: 5th Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project Update [PDF - 520 KB]

September 8, 2020 Presentation: 5th Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project Update [PDF - 1 MB]

September 8, 2020 Traffic Management Strategy (Draft): 5th Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project Update [PDF - 7 MB]

May 11, 2020 Briefing Note: 5th Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project Update [PDF - 498 KB]

January 27, 2020 Staff Report: 5th Street Bridge Rehabilitation [PDF - 2 MB]

January 27, 2020 Presentation: 5th Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project Update [PDF - 2 MB]

January 27, 2020 Staff Report: 6th Street Bridge Options Analysis [PDF - 2 MB]

January 27, 2020 Presentation: 6th Street Bridge Multi-Use Options [PDF - 2 MB]

September 16, 2019 Staff Report: 5th Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project Update [PDF - 848 KB]

June 24, 2019 Staff Report: 5th Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project [PDF - 2 MB]

June 24, 2019 Council Presentation: 5th Street Bridge Rehabilitation [PDF - 989 KB]

May 14, 2019 Briefing Note: 5th Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project [PDF - 139 KB]

May 14, 2019 Council Presentation: 2019-05-17 Bridge BN Council Presentation [PDF - 2 MB]

November 26, 2018 Council Presentation: 2018-11-26 COW 5th St Bridge [PDF - 2 MB]

For more information on the Fifth Street Bridge project, email

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Project Status:

Detailed Design