THUNDER BAY -- Deterioration of the elevated crossover to Marina Park has led Thunder Bay's waterfront development committee to consider the options for either fixing it or replacing it.
Given the estimated $3 million replacement cost, at this point, it appears more likely that the pedestrian bridge over Water Street will be refurbished at an estimated cost of around $1.1 milllion. But that's not going to happen before 2020.
Councillor Iain Angus, the committee's chair, says there are several issues with the condition of the structure, which was opened in 1994.
"It's aging, and there are, I gather, issues with some of the concrete. It's not in a situation where it's unsafe to use at this point, but we do need to maintain these facilities on a regular basis," he said.
Angus added that the steelwork and paint require attention as well.
The committee believes the problems with the pedestrian bridge go beyond basic upkeep, however.
"There's also a need to do some re-design work, so that it looks better than it does, and it works better than it does. There needs to be some new kind of spacing to allow the breeze to go through, to help clean the air," Angus said.
He said he understands that a problem with odours within the crossover "is quite severe. It has become a place for individuals who are homeless to hang around, and there's been incidents of intoxication and vomiting. I gather it's quite unpleasant at times."
Angus said city administration is expected to make a proposal closer to 2020 for including remedial work for the bridge in the city budget.
Ideally, though, he'd prefer to see the overhead walkway replaced by an at-grade pedestrian crossing.
Angus feels it would be an ideal location for an automated crossover, similar to ones recently installed on South Algoma Street and on Walsh Street.