City still plans for second river crossing

Trail keeps eye on pedestrian bridge that will house sewer line.

A second crossing over the Columbia River isn’t just a pipe dream.

The pipe bridge, meant only for foot traffic, is still on the table and under consideration by the City of Trail.

The estimated total cost, including the engineering fees and construction services for the pipe/pedestrian crossing, is approximately $6.5 million.

The planning stage for a new structure rolled ahead in May, after the engineering design was awarded to Buckland and Taylor, a specialized bridge engineering firm based in North Vancouver.

“They are currently studying the best location for the bridge,” said David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer (CAO).

The actual design of the bridge will begin once the location, either upstream or downstream from the old bridge, has been decided.

The engineering firm is considering placing the pipe bridge at Thom Street (Butler Park) in East Trail or downstream from the old bridge at Main Street (near the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre).

The final engineering bridge concept is expected to be completed in November.

“The plan is to be in the position to tender the bridge project later this year or early next,” added Perehudoff.

New construction can begin even though an obstacle, the Old Trail Bridge, stands in the way.

The question facing the city is how to foot the estimated $5-million bill to tear the old bridge down.

“We are still hoping and reminding the government that they owned the bridge for 50 years and so did Trail for 50 years,” said Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs. “It should be a 50-50 cost sharing demolition.”

Bogs said that there is no legal mandate to take the bridge down unless there is an incident such as pieces of it falling into the river, or structural movement detected.

“At this moment in time it is just there,” he said. “When it will be removed, that is the question.”

The issue will be up for discussion at the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) conference in Vancouver next month.

“This is a topic we will bring to the UBCM,” confirmed Bogs.

“Although we are discussing our strategy on how to best approach the government.”

The idea of constructing a pedestrian bridge/sewer pipeline was first proposed to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) by the City of Trail in 2011, following a cost review summary of a new sewer line to cross the Columbia River.

In 2012, Trail and its regional sewer partners, Rossland and Warfield, decided to move forward to create a pipe bridge that would support the regional sewer line after a busted pipe underneath the old bridge led to 5,500 cubic metres of liquid sewage seeping into the river.

The structure is the most affordable option for rerouting the utility line.

Funding for the bridge will be shared with the RDKB based on the sewer line being moved off the former bridge and onto the new pipe bridge.

The total contribution from the RDKB is yet to be determined, however John McLean, the district’s CAO, said that the RDKB will be responsible for the costs associated with installing a pipe bridge.

“The city is responsible for any additional costs to turn it into a walking bridge,” he added.