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Repairs would close Marina Park overpass for much of summer

$1.3 million project would see pedestrian overpass removed for badly-needed structural repairs.
Repairs to the Marina Park pedestrian overpass are expected to close the structure for much of the summer. (File photo)

THUNDER BAY – Badly-needed structural repairs to the pedestrian overpass at Marina Park could see the structure closed for much of the summer. A $1.3 million repair job recommended by city administration would see it closed for several months.

Significant corrosion and section loss in the structure’s steel supports have already necessitated emergency repairs, with city engineers saying repairs are needed by the end of the year. In a report that will come before city council on Monday, administration recommends awarding a contract for the work to the Tom Jones Corporation, which originally built the structure in 1994.

The Thunder Bay company submitted the lowest bid for the repairs, at just over $1.3 million. That’s nearly $500,000 below the city’s pre-tender estimate.

The work will involve removing the overpass from its abutments using a crane, repairing and recoating the steel, and repairing approaches and railings. It does not include any aesthetic improvements.

City engineer Mike Vogrig anticipated the work would see the overpass out of commission for about 12 weeks, from mid-July through October.

In January, Coun. Aldo Ruberto suggested scrapping the overpass entirely and replacing it with a level crossing at Red River Road. He argued the aging facility makes a bad impression on visitors to the city, and many residents avoid it. But city administration warned that option would require approval from CN Rail, a process they anticipated could take years.