Refurbished Old Bridge would be a popular heritage site for Trail

Local resident shares ideas for the Old Bridge in Trail.

For some time I have been concerned with the manner in which the former Mayor and Council of the City of Trail chose to deal with the bridge issue. Rather than look at it as a “DIAMOND in the Rough”, they seemed to view it as a piece of junk, a bridge that carried hundreds of thousands of cars, trucks and people across the river for almost a century.

As a former board member of B.C. Heritage Trust I had the opportunity to travel our province and see the many projects that were brought back from certain demolition to become focal points in their respective communities.

I sincerely believe that the Old Bridge could be stabilized, regenerated and become one of the finest and most popular walking bridge in the province. Because there was never an engineering report made public to my knowledge then I believe that my assertion is as valid as other letter writers who do not believe the bridge can be saved or made whole. A former Trail council member told me that when he asked for a copy of the Engineers report he was not only refused, but told not to bring the subject up again.

There have been many bridges across Canada that have been revitalized, some 100, 200 and 300 years old. The same, I believe, could be done to the Old Bridge. This is my vision of the refurbished bridge.

– Paint it Orange and Black

– Light it with orange and black lights

– Install a large neon sign, which would read, SMOKE EATER TRAIL, SMOKE EATER PASS, SMOKE EATER WALK or any other name that would compliment the Smoke Eater name.

The City of Trail and our area is known the World over because of these great hockey teams and many would come to walk across this bridge and leave with a strong memory of our area.

Further on the refurbishing.

– Refinish the traffic area of the bridge, which would only be used in emergencies.

– Build a bench along a portion of one side of the bridge with tables. One could rest or eat their lunch.

– The other side could have hanging flower pots or something else. The Arts and Culture folks could help here.

– A metal roof cover over the traffic area would be installed.

– Gates, not unlike the ones at Violin Lake would be installed, with keys to emergency personnel.

Any ideas would I am sure be welcome. I thank the Mayor and Council of the City of Trail for giving this idea some consideration.

I believe it could also save millions of dollars.

PS – Let’s go back to when the bridge issue started. One day a five-ton truck and many others crossed the span and the next day a person couldn’t walk across it. Like Judge Judy says, “If it doesn’t make sense it isn’t true.”

Bill Trewhella


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