The first piece of Surrey’s flood-mitigation plan is now in place, with the completion of the new Serpentine rail bridge.
The city announced this week (June 4) that work on the $3 million project to replace the 40-metre-long timber bridge had wrapped up. It is one of 13 project components in Surrey to be partially funded through the government of Canada’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF).
In 2019, the city secured $76.6 million in federal funding to supplement a series of projects to help reduce Surrey’s coastal flood risk due to rising sea levels. First among them was the replacement of the wooden railway bridge, built in 1958, which was found to be vulnerable to “overtopping” and damage, a release from the city states.
Also on the list is construction of a six-lane bridge in South Surrey to replace the Nicomekl dam, Bailey bridge and King George Boulevard bridge.
Mayor Doug McCallum described the new Serpentine bridge, located immediately north of Highway 10, near 164 Street, as “an insurance policy for the movement of goods and the protection of agriculture production in the area.”
Southern Railway of British Columbia moves approximately $190 million worth of freight across the Serpentine rail bridge annually, providing businesses in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley with rail connections to markets across North America and internationally.
In addition, the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway, which carries passengers on round trips between Cloverdale and Sullivan Station, crosses the Serpentine River along its route.
Of the replacement span’s $3 million price tag, the city of Surrey covered $1.25 million. Southern Railway of B.C. contributed $1 million and $750,000 came from the federal government, through DMAF.
The provincial government has advised coastal municipalities to plan for a sea-level rise of one metre by 2100 and two metres by 2200.
In addition to the bridge replacement in South Surrey, other projects to be supplemented by DMAF include dyke and road upgrades, sea dam and bridge replacements, storm sewer upgrades, nature-based solutions and further infrastructure investments.
These components are scheduled to be put in place over the next eight years.