Come on Trail, let’s get vocal about the bridge

I just finished reading the Trail Mayor’s Feb. 9 Community Comment regarding requesting our input on the proposed second bridge(s). I think before we waste a lot of time and money on more studies we should have a lot more information provided to us.

I just finished reading the Trail Mayor’s Feb. 9 Community Comment regarding requesting our input on the proposed second bridge(s). I think before we waste a lot of time and money on more studies we should have a lot more information provided to us.

Is the $20 million what it’s going to cost us to put in another bridge or what it will cost to build it? There is a big difference. Building it for $20 million is one thing, paying off the $20 million is another. Interest over 30 years can be substantial. What is that amount?

No one is providing information on what it’s going to cost us to deal with the old bridge, and there will be costs. It’s ours, we won’t be allowed to just abandon it. We can’t just leave it there to fall down. The Ministry of Environment won’t allow that.

If it’s not safe enough to drive or walk on, then use it for the water and sewer line until it outlives its life there, then deal with those lines at that time. I’m sure running them under the river is going to be a lot less than building bridges. What’s the life of it if it’s just used to carry the sewer/water lines?

Let’s have some figures up front on what it will actually cost in total, financing, contingency and overruns. I know they are going to say how do you project overruns, well there must be studies out there they can look at. We are experts on studies, if not, we should be by now.

Maybe we need to do a study on how many fruitless studies we have done in the last 10 years. (Why didn’t prolific letter writer David Willford think of this one?)

It’s hard to believe that one day the bridge was suitable to carry three-ton trucks and the next day it can’t support foot traffic. Maybe we should have a reevaluation done to see if it will support foot and bicycle traffic.

“Detailed inspection and evaluation of the steel trusses and the timber sidewalk were conducted. Repair and replacement alternatives, together with cost estimates for each, were prepared.

“Based on a cost-benefit analysis, the owner chose to repair/strengthen the truss bottom chords and to replace the aging timber sidewalk. The bridge was repaired and reopened to traffic in November 2001. The revitalized bridge reestablishes a well used crossing that is expected to serve the community for many years to come!” (See http://www.b-t.com/projects/oldtrail.htm)

I guess “many years” equals 10. Were the bridge supports that sit rusting in the water not inspected at that time?

I don’t know why we figure we need a second bridge? Nelson gets by with a two-lane bridge, Kelowna has “a” new bridge. Kelowna is a bit bigger that Trail and it only needs one. And the list could go on.

The proposed bridges will be on a 4.9 per cent grade, which means we are going to have traction issues I can see some dandy accidents happening with that slope and on a narrow opposed lane to lane bridge.

We have a few issues now on the other bridge but at least it’s not head-on. Visualize this, the proposed bridge is the same length as the old one (682 feet, 208 metres), put the East Trail end plus or minus 33 feet higher than the West Trail side.

Do we even own the land on the East Trail side? If we don’t, will the owner put us through an expensive court battle if he/she doesn’t want to sell?

Come on gang, write letters, ask for more information, do the survey. If you’re not heard, this will be stick-handled through like some of the other things based on the vocal minority. If council only sees the surveys from the few that want a new bridge, we will have a bunch more land purchased we don’t need. We will spend more money on surveys that could be better spent in other areas.

Think about it, we haven’t had the old bridge for a few months now, what has been the impact on you? For the majority of us little to none.

We have a lot of other more important things Trail needs before a bridge. Like a skateboard park, a logical City Hall, and infrastructure issues.

Speaking of infrastructure, what infrastructure plans are in the future, say the next 10 years and will a bridge eat up the tax dollars needed for them? Or will we go back to the fixed income and low-income people and tell them they need to cough up more tax dollars. Infrastructure is a “must” issue, a bridge isn’t.

I wrote a letter a few weeks back and I have received countless comments of support, don’t tell me … tell the powers that be — the ones that are going to spend your money. The ones that are going to use up tax money from the older people in town on fixed incomes. The ones that are going to up the taxes which ups the rents on the low income and put a few more of them out on the street.

Now there is something to brag about. We got a new bridge and a higher homeless count and a higher poverty rate for the seniors that built this town.

Come on gang, be heard.

Dale Evans

Trail