Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Opinion
Classified Sites

Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Two north-south arteries not enough for the Wheat City

We find ourselves in agreement with Coun. Murray Blight (Victoria) who recently suggested the aging Eighth Street bridge should be closed to vehicle traffic and become a pedestrian-only structure.

And until Tuesday we would have asserted that such a plan should only be considered until after the completion of the Daly Overpass conversion to four lanes along 18th Street — a project that may not be in the works for a few more years for all we know.

But on Tuesday afternoon, a garbage truck bashed into one of the bridge’s crossbeams along Assiniboine Avenue, which prompted the city to close the bridge indefinitely to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic until a Winnipeg engineering firm assesses the damage.

That will apparently happen later today, if the weather co-operates.

We can only guess what a structural engineer will say about the bridge — it could be closed for several more weeks or even months until repairs are done, if repairs are even possible or cost-effective. Or, less likely, it could open again tomorrow if given the green light.

Notwithstanding Tuesday’s closure of the bridge, previously considered options for reconstruction of the structure as envisioned by Dillan Consulting would be extremely expensive to carry out, likely beyond the means of city council to pay for it without access to outside funding.

The bridge options that were initially outlined in a preliminary design report in 2012 — which included rehabilitating the bridge, rebuilding the bridge in the same location, angling the bridge so that it lines up with Ninth Street and relocating the bridge so it lined up with Fifth Street — have been seemingly dismissed by council, as it searches for alternatives like the pedestrian bridge solution.

Rather than saddle Brandon taxpayers and the provincial government with the huge financial burden of repairing the Eighth Street bridge — option price tags range from $20 million to $34 million — it makes much more economic sense to preserve the bridge for pedestrian use if possible, as it ties into the riverbank walkways, and would still allow residents on the north side of the railway limited access to the city’s downtown.

Brandon Mayor Shari Decter Hirst told the Sun that the main priority is to get First Street and 18th Street bridges functioning at maximum capacity, with the Eighth Street bridge being looked at as a secondary bridge.

“It was felt that the investment would be better made with a higher rate of return on the 18th Street bridge,” she said.

That makes good financial sense. But the unforeseen closure of the Eighth Street bridge has now caused considerable inconvenience to Brandon motorists. As the Sun reported yesterday, approximately 3,500 vehicles per day normally cross the Eighth Street bridge, according to a traffic count conducted by Dillan Consulting in 2011.

And that will only have put added pressure on 18th Street’s three-lane bottleneck at the Daly Overpass. For the time being, the provincial government has committed to upgrades on the Daly Overpass, in partnership with the city, but the timeline on that construction remains vague. At the very least, it will not begin this year.

We suggest that council should prod the province to expedite remediation plans on the Daly Overpass as a result, especially if the Eighth Street bridge remains closed.

As well, if the city has to pay a substantial fee to repair the Eighth Street bridge after its recent closure, our council will have to look at a more permanent solution than a simple repair job. We expect councillors will have to address the situation much sooner than they expected to.

In our opinion, it’s also time for city officials to begin official discussions regarding future access north-south access routes on the west side of the city. That could include the viability of construction of an underpass underneath the railway tracks on 26th Street, as an example.

For a growing city like Brandon, having only two unobstructed north-south arterial routes, even with an upgraded Daly Overpass, will simply not be enough down the road.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 16, 2014

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

We find ourselves in agreement with Coun. Murray Blight (Victoria) who recently suggested the aging Eighth Street bridge should be closed to vehicle traffic and become a pedestrian-only structure.

And until Tuesday we would have asserted that such a plan should only be considered until after the completion of the Daly Overpass conversion to four lanes along 18th Street — a project that may not be in the works for a few more years for all we know.

Please subscribe to view full article.

Already subscribed? Login to view full article.

Not yet a subscriber? Click here to sign up

We find ourselves in agreement with Coun. Murray Blight (Victoria) who recently suggested the aging Eighth Street bridge should be closed to vehicle traffic and become a pedestrian-only structure.

And until Tuesday we would have asserted that such a plan should only be considered until after the completion of the Daly Overpass conversion to four lanes along 18th Street — a project that may not be in the works for a few more years for all we know.

Subscription required to view full article.

A subscription to the Brandon Sun Newspaper is required to view this article. Please update your user information if you are already a newspaper subscriber.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media