William R. Bennett Bridge

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William R. Bennett Bridge
William R. Bennett Bridge.jpg
The bridge seen from West Kelowna, with parts of the old bridge still visible in the foreground
Coordinates 49°53′08″N 119°31′08″W / 49.8856°N 119.519°W / 49.8856; -119.519Coordinates: 49°53′08″N 119°31′08″W / 49.8856°N 119.519°W / 49.8856; -119.519
Carries Motor vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles
Crosses Okanagan Lake
Locale Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Official name William R. Bennett Bridge
Maintained by SNC-Lavalin Inc.
Design Pontoon bridge
Longest span 44 metres (144 ft)
Clearance below 18 metres (59 ft)
Opened May 25, 2008
Daily traffic 50,000 vehicles

The William R. Bennett Bridge is a pontoon bridge in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada. Completed on May 25, 2008, the bridge replaced the older Okanagan Lake Bridge built in 1958 to link Downtown Kelowna to West Kelowna across Okanagan Lake as part of Highway 97.

On April 21, 2005, Premier Gordon Campbell officially renamed the bridge from the Okanagan Lake Bridge to William R. Bennett Bridge in honour of former Premier William Richards Bennett, a native of Kelowna.

Construction budget[edit]

The first press release from the BC Ministry of Transportation to include budget information was in 2003. At that time, the project was estimated to cost $100 million CAD for the bridge and another $20 million CAD for the two interchange upgrades on the west side of the lake.[1]

By June 29, 2005, the cost of the bridge was increased from the previous estimate of $100 million CAD to $144 million CAD "due to dramatic increases in the cost of construction materials and labour", which includes significant increases in the cost of concrete, steel, and fuel. Over the next 30 years, the province of British Columbia expects to pay SNC-Lavalin a total of $179 million CAD "to design, build, finance, operate, maintain and rehabilitate the bridge".[2]

Construction schedule[edit]

  • April 2005: Arthon Construction Ltd. begins bridge end preloads from rock on Westside Road
  • May 2005: Arthon completes east side preload
  • June 2005: SNC-Lavalin Inc. is chosen to design, build, finance and operate the new bridge
  • July 2005: Construction begins on a dry dock near Bear Creek Provincial Park, where the bridge pontoons will be built
  • Q3 2005: Arthon completes preloads on west side of Lake Okanagan
  • Q3 2005: Graving dock ready
  • Q3 2006: Roadwork on both approaches begins
  • Q4 2006: First four pontoons in place
  • Q1 2007: Bridge deck construction begins
  • Q4 2007: All pontoons in place
  • Q4 2007: Roadwork on both approaches is completed
  • Q1 2008: Bridge deck construction is completed
  • Q2 2008: Test and commission
  • Q2 2008: Bridge officially opens
    • Official opening scheduled for May 25, 2008
  • Q2 2009: Decommission of the old bridge
  • Q2 2009: Shoreline restoration

Bridge facts[edit]

  • Extending 1,060 metres (3,478 ft) long in total, the bridge includes a 690-metre (2,264 ft) string of long poles holding pontoons supporting an elevated deck.[3]
  • At the deepest point near the middle of the bridge, the lake is approximately 60 metres (197 ft) deep
  • There are a total of 9 concrete pontoons
  • The pontoons are 25 m (82 ft) wide and 60 to 90 m (197 to 295 ft) long
  • The navigation span on the west side of the bridge is 44 m (144 ft) long and provides 18 m (59 ft) of clearance between the bridge and the lake[4]
  • Three lanes are for westbound traffic
  • Two lanes are for eastbound traffic
  • An additional 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) wide pedestrian and cyclist pathway exists on the south (eastbound) side of the bridge
  • The west side of the bridge has a pedestrian/cyclist and vehicle underpass at Campbell Road and another interchange at Westside Road
  • The Kelowna side of the bridge retains the existing pedestrian/cyclist underpass between City Park and Lake Avenue
  • The new bridge is designed to handle up to 80,000 vehicles daily; the old Okanagan Lake Bridge was designed to handle 38,000 vehicles daily but in 2005 handled approximately 50,000 vehicles daily[5]



  1. ^ Ministry of Transportation press release 2003TRAN0063-000931 October 28, 2003
  2. ^ Ministry of Transportation press release 2005TRAN0032-000628 June 29, 2005
  3. ^ Ministry of Transportation: Profile of the elevated portion of the William R. Bennett Bridge
  4. ^ Westside Weekly, February 8, 2006, "Public hates billboards -- report" by Anne-Rachelle McHugh
  5. ^ Canadian Consulting Engineer

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°53′8″N 119°31′7″W / 49.88556°N 119.51861°W / 49.88556; -119.51861