Pedestrians on the Thompson Bridges will be in the dark until at least the summer of 2014.
During the flood of 2011, the transformers and connecting wiring for the pedestrian walkway lights on the bridge and the lamps along the paths in the nearby park areas, were either removed or compromised.
"The light system is all connected," said Ian Christiansen, the city’s director of engineering services and water resources. "The street lights are operating, but not the lower-level pedestrian lights and they won’t be in operation until such time that the dike is repaired. That’s one of the last things that will go in."
The city has received several enquiries from the public regarding the lights on the bridges along 18th Street, which cross over the Assiniboine River.
Coun. Jeff Fawcett (Assiniboine) said it is a bit of a safety concern.
"I guess the reality is, if it can’t be fixed until (summer 2014), I guess it’s more just that people need to know that in the evening, there’s less lighting," he said.
Christiansen said safety shouldn’t be an issue on the bridge as the street lights are still illuminating the roadway.
"In terms of moving on 18th Street, it’s not an issue," he said, however "Pedestrian access to the diking system is always a concern in good times or bad, only worse now with temporary diking. It’s kind of a battle zone through most of those areas."
A temporary diking system was built to protect the city from floodwaters in 2011. Walkways around the Riverbank Discovery Centre sustained major damage.
A permanent dike is now being built, which is a lengthy process.
"The trouble we have with the dikes, when they’re built immediately before a flood, they’re built virtually to the height they need to be at but by almost any means you can," he said. "But now, when they’re built in a non-flood time, we can’t take all those shortcuts and we have to do things according to good engineering practice and not be invasive on anybody’s private property."
It takes time and effort to build a permanent dike, Christiansen said, using proper materials and processes.
"Next time there is a flood, we don’t have to run around and do all the heroic measures with sandbagging and everything else," he said. "We’ll have a dike systems that works well."