Trail asks residents about bridge replacement

Trail is asking the public whether the Old Trail Bridge should be replaced and at what cost.

The city is sending out a brochure this week that outlines two options – a two-lane vehicle crossing with a sidewalk or a pedestrian-only bridge – which will help city council determine how to proceed.

As a means of collecting community feedback, residents are encouraged to fill out an online survey that breaks down the two options: a full replacement of the bridge would cost about $20 million, which works to a projected tax increase of $100 over the next 30 years for a $100,000 property; or a $6.5-million foot bridge, costing about $30 a year per $100,000 home.

The nearly 100-year-old bridge was closed permanently to vehicles in the fall when a routine inspection determined that the structure had deteriorated to a point where it was no longer safe for traffic.

Since then, city staff have been working closely with a bridge engineer in hopes of finding a way to open the bridge to pedestrians only.

“It doesn’t look too favourable,” said administrator David Perehudoff. “There is a specific structural issue and while full failure is not imminent, the engineer doesn’t want to take the risk.”

Phase 1 of the public consultation process will wrap up in May, when council will determine how to proceed. 

At that time, the city could hire on a professional to administer a structured survey. If the responses remain divided, the city could choose to hold a referendum during the next municipal election in November, where the final decision would be put out to voters.

Meanwhile, data is being collected on the Victoria Street Bridge by the Ministry of Transportation to see whether traffic lights should be adjusted to accommodate an increase in vehicles since the Old Trail Bridge closed down.

For more information on the bridge options, visit www.trail.ca/bridge.php