Workers check out the new suspension bridge over Menzies Creek on the popular Ripple Rock Trail which re-opened last month.

Re-crossing the Menzies

Campbell River's popular Ripple Rock Trail re-opened last month with a sturdy new bridge

The Ripple Rock Trail, with about 6,500 users per year, has a new bridge and new trail surface.

The work was completed and the trail re-opened last month.

The section of the trail crossing Menzies Creek, a suspension bridge, had been wearing and was under fatigue. In early 2014, a Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations review of the bridge showed safety and structural deficiencies.

Patch work was done for the interim until the decision was made to replace the suspension bridge with a more solid structure.

Tender processes were initiated for the bridge and its installation. Heavy Metal Marine Ltd, based out of Victoria, was awarded the contract to make the 53-foot aluminum pedestrian bridge McGrath Contracting Ltd, from Campbell River, was awarded the work for site access improvements and to install the bridge on concrete abutments. Given the bridge crossing is about 850 metres into the trail, logistics were needed to safely get to it.

BC Hydro has a power line right of way and with private lands in the area the trail was unable to be re-located. The trail also had some issues with culverts not functioning properly and causing trail erosion. Using a helicopter to sling the bridge was considered but it had safety concerns and in the end was not practical due to the presence of the hydro lines and tall trees. It was deemed best to use the existing trail.

As part of the project, the contractor was to re-ditch, install new culverts and cap the road with gravel crush, and BC Hydro donated $7,000 for the gravel.

“BC Hydro has provided support in the past for the Ripple Rock trail system, it made sense to do so again given the proximity to our power line that goes to Quadra Island,” says BC Hydro spokesperson, Stephen Watson. “We provided funds towards the gravel work, and we moved the power pole guy wires to allow for access and for the improvements to take place.”

Watson says worker safety is extremely important when working around power lines, particularly with heavy equipment, and it was well considered for this project.

“My goal since arriving here five years ago was to upgrade this trail to make it a real showcase for the community,” says District Recreation Officer Duncan Mactavish. “One in which residents can take visitors to a very historic site and see views that are pretty special.

“Everything came together for this upgrade work and I am proud of what we’ve been able to achieve. It looks fantastic and I encourage people to come check it out.”

The total project work budget was $60,000.

In 2010, through the Job Opportunities Program and with funding from Island Coastal Economic Trust, over $120,000 was put into the trail by constructing boardwalks, bridges, picnic tables, and the installation of stairs at the end of the trail to get visitors up the rock cliff just before the end of the trail.