Whitehorse Daily Star

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City engineer Taylor Eshpeter

Bridge must go, council told

The pedestrian bridge over Sumanik Drive that serves as a gateway to the network of public trails should be torn down – soon, city administration is recommending.

By Chuck Tobin on September 18, 2019

The pedestrian bridge over Sumanik Drive that serves as a gateway to the network of public trails should be torn down – soon, city administration is recommending.

On July 15, the bridge was struck again by a waste management truck with its lift up. It happened just as the city was about to release a tender to repair structural damage to the bridge that occurred when it was struck by a transport truck in October 2017.

“The inspection (following the July collision) determined the bridge was damaged to the extent it is unsafe for pedestrian use and should be removed from service prior to winter due to the additional loading imposed from snow,” says the report presented to city council Monday.

“Administration is exploring options to remove the bridge and install a temporary solution to maintain the current level of service until a permanent solution can be established.”

The bridge is next to the Mount McIntyre Recreational Centre and the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club.

July’s collision was the third in four years, council was told.

City engineer Taylor Eshpeter said officials are exploring options to remove the bridge and install a temporary solution to maintain the level of service for the cross country skiers and hikers who use the bridge to access the trails.

If a temporary solution isn’t found, the loss of the bridge would have an impact on the 2020 Arctic Winter Games, but they’ll still be able to run the Games because access to the trail network is still available, though much less convenient, he said.

Eshpeter said the largest impact will be on the recreational users.

Council is also being asked to rework the budget that had been approved to make repairs to the 2017 damage.

Included in the repair budget was $70,000 in money from the insurance company representing the firm whose truck struck the bridge in 2017 and $128,000 from the federal gas tax money.

The gas tax money was for repairs, and can’t be used for demolition and removal, says the administrative report.

Council is being asked to replace the gas tax funding with money from the city’s capital reserve funds.

“The revised project scope will include the removal of the bridge, design of a temporary solution and analysis/conceptual design of a permanent solution,” says the report.

Council will vote Monday on the new project proposal and the reallocation of funds.

Comments (10)

Up 10 Down 1

Groucho d'North on Sep 23, 2019 at 10:54 am

More lowest common denominator problem solving by the City. If truck drivers fail to heed the most basic safety requirements of their jobs, where will this all end?

Up 4 Down 2

Davis on Sep 23, 2019 at 8:30 am

@ Brad - have you ever tried to use that "trail" from the CGC parking lot to Mt Mac? 95% of the use is in the winter and during that time the "trail" is extremely difficult to maintain as it is so steep (stairs are needed) resulting in it usually turning into a sheet of ice. I've lost count how many people I've seen fall and slide down it. I'm actually surprised they still allow people to use it because it's so dangerous. Even if you are able to make it up and down the "trail" there still needs to be barrier-free access. There is no shoulder on the road which means it's also very dangerous to walk on.

@ Chuck Farley - What impact does the bridge have on the intersection? The bridge is for skiing and biking over the road, regardless of if the bridge is there or not it has no impact on vehicle access to Mt Mac, meaning the intersection is still required.

Up 7 Down 5

Chuck Farley on Sep 20, 2019 at 2:19 pm

if the bridge is to go while your at it get rid of the traffic control lights at that intersection

Up 13 Down 3

Brad on Sep 20, 2019 at 9:40 am

Humble Measure... there is already trail access to Mt Mac from the CGC parking lot.

Up 6 Down 8

Trevor Howard on Sep 19, 2019 at 5:23 pm

Our city is a wonderful place for all kinds of activities. So before a decision is made on the pedestrian bridge, forget about the cost, do what's right about keeping our city a fun and safe place to enjoy the outdoors.

Up 21 Down 0

Bandit on Sep 19, 2019 at 2:37 pm

I haven't been up there in quite some time but would it be possible to put in a multi-plate or culvert under the road? Maybe there is one already? Just a suggestion.

Up 28 Down 3

Humble Measure on Sep 19, 2019 at 8:45 am

Please consider adding a sidewalk to Sumanik Dr while you're at it. Mount Mac Rec Centre is extremely difficult to access safely as a pedestrian. Everything has been set up for cars.

Up 19 Down 2

jc on Sep 18, 2019 at 8:30 pm

Gas tax money? Would that be carbon tax money by the way?

Up 25 Down 3

jc on Sep 18, 2019 at 8:28 pm

Just ask Larry Claus. I'm sure he and the Liberal Party would be pleased to cut a nice generous cheque to solve this problem before election time.

Up 33 Down 8

e Politico on Sep 18, 2019 at 7:36 pm

Beautiful logic. Truck drivers too stupid to drive under bridge so tear down bridge and put skiers in danger by making them cross road.

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