Quick is a small community about 15 kilometres east of Telkwa in British Columbia's northern interior. The community (known as Quick or Quick Station) was built to accommodate the vibrant little farming community on the north side of the Bulkley River.
The Bulkley is a is a major tributary of the Skeena River and is 257 kilometres long with a drainage basin covering 12,400 square kilometres. In 1921, when the Quick Bridge was built, it was a connection between the farming community and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, as the Yellowhead Highway (HWY 16) was being built up from a dirt road.
The Howe Truss Quick Bridge was built after the Hubert Bridge (built only 2 years prior) was taken out by ice. The designers of the Quick Bridge likely took note of this and built a 300 plus foot space double wide bridge which was 12 feet above the winter water levels and 8 feet above the flood plain. Mounted on 3 massive concrete piers, the bridge was withstood decades of floods and ice jams.
Repairs have been conducted throughout the decades, most notably in the 1980s when "major reconstruction work was completed" (according to a Quick Station Residents Association letter) and again in 1991 when the Howe Truss diagonals were replaced and rods were re-tensioned.
It was in 1991 when the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure BC (MoTI) wrote a letter to the residents of Quick stating "the life of the existing bridge could be extended up to three years by the timely repair of certain structural members". Other work specific to the crossing was accomplished in 1997, mainly the replacement of the south side approach with fill and steel. The centre column (pier) received its new structural skin in the winter of 2004 at a cost of approximately $240,000.
In 2018, a Condition Assessment Report was completed by COWI North America, an engineering consultant group on behalf of the Ministry. The summary of that report (which included a BMIS (Bridge Management Information System) rating) consisted of mostly 1s and 2s, which means most of the recommendations were not of particular urgency. The BMIS rating is a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most urgent.
The COWI report concluded that while items such as floor joists, bottom and top chords, timber tiers and timber planks should be replaced due to decay, the bridge did not need to be replaced completely.
A year later, the Ministry contacted the residents of Quick to say that the structure was unreliable for traffic and closed in 2020. Currently, the bridge is used as a pedestrian and bike crossing, with many residents parking at one end, walking to the other end, and leaving a car on either side to drive to and from work.
The residents of Quick Station have spent nearly 20 years in correspondence and meetings with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure BC to employ a repair job on the bridge, but the Ministry has put the demolition work to tender, and an Algonquin Bridge superstructure has been purchased.
The residents of Quick await the looming deadline to watch their beloved bridge come crashing down.