Johnson Street Bridge – Victoria, British Columbia


The fate of Victoria’s Johnson Street Bridge may finally be decided today. Created by the Strauss Bascule Company (best known for San Fransisco’s Golden Gate Bridge) the bridge is something of an under appreciated design landmark.  Said to be the only remaining example of its kind, the Strauss Split Bascule design utilizes massive concrete blocks as counterweights to raise two independent decks (one for rail and one for everyone else).

Now approaching ninety years old, the “Blue Bridge” needs significant repairs and seismic upgrades.  Through a process that sparked significant debate and controversy, Victoria city council opted last year to replace rather than repair the existing bridge. Determined to save the bridge and frustrated by a lack of consultation, thousands of Victoria residents forced a referendum on the issue. Residents will vote today on whether to approve a city plan to borrow $49,200,000 for the construction of a new bridge.

The utilitarian charms of the Johnson Street Bridge have obviously fallen out of fashion and functionally, its not without flaws. But in the face of so much faux historic architecture and middle of the road condo developments, the city might be well advised to embrace a little of its authentic character.

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