Now’s the time to figure out how much it will cost to tear down the Old Trail Bridge.
With bridge experts already on site for the Columbia River Skywalk, Trail council awarded Graham Infrastructure $30,000 this week to complete an estimate for demolition of the historic crossing.
Over the years, $5 million has been tossed around, but that number is now dated.
“We’ve been operating on this very ballpark estimate that has absolutely no detail associated with taking down the old bridge,” Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff said during the Monday governance meeting. “From my perspective, it’s like playing darts in the dark, we don’t know what we are dealing with.”
Depending upon the dollar amount, the company could start the job right after they’ve completed the Skywalk, Perehudoff added.
“I am not saying it’s something we would necessarily do, but I think we would be remiss if we didn’t get this cost estimate completed and then see where we stand…Graham has indicated they can put this together for us.”
Perehudoff clarified the estimate would include tear down of the superstructure as well as the piers.
While all agreed to investigate costs related to the inevitable tear down, Coun. Carol Dobie asked her peers to consider ways to preserve the bridge’s history.
“I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that this is an historic monument in Trail,” she began. “We have a lot of potential here.”
Dobie explained how the City of Kamloops incorporated a demolished bridge back into the community by re-using materials to build unique picnic tables and park benches.
“When we look at doing demolition, we want to make sure we have an interest in that area,” she emphasized. “And I hope we do, because we have some great opportunities to work it in such a way that their costs won’t reflect taking the material for scrap and selling it, to bring our price down lower.”
She recalled the city selling old seats from the Trail Memorial Centre during facility renovation.
“We sold a lot of those that I understand were shipped all over the country,” Dobie added. “Because they are historical and there’s a lot of memories with Trail hockey over the years. And I see the bridge having that same opportunity to bring a lot of that material back into the community. I just want that on the table.”
The Old Trail Bridge was closed in 2010 after an engineering assessment found the structure had deteriorated to the point it was no longer safe for pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
While there are no provincial or federal regulations that require a municipality to demolish a closed bridge, if it continues to deteriorate and starts to fall in the river, the city would be responsible for clean up.
Besides demolition costs, the city is required to complete a $2,500 environmental assessment, which Graham agreed to include within the $30,000 contract.