Editorial: That bridge needs replacing

A semi truck rounds the corner, crossing over the centre line.

The driver, cautious but without a choice, crosses the bridge. Drivers slow down, some slam on their brakes, causing others behind them to do the same.

An hour later, another truck coming from the opposite direction lets the wheels skip up onto the curb, where people often wait eagerly to cross the pedestrian walk. Sometimes, pedestrians don’t even wait, and take their chances crossing the busy highway.

They’re crossing the Highway 95 bridge across the Kicking Horse River in Golden.

This isn’t an exaggeration. As Goldenites, we see it almost daily. This scenario doesn’t include impatient drivers trying to turn left onto Park Drive before the blind corner, and those who don’t take the signs seriously about not turning left into the Island parking lot.

The speed limit is only 50 kilometres per hour, but traffic often exceeds that speed just before they go into the corners, applying their brakes to maneuver across the bridge.

Yet, we’re expecting more traffic to cross this section in the spring, when the Trans-Canada is closed while Kicking Horse Canyon is being upgraded.

In Radium, they’re expecting a new roundabout. Traffic is often backed up on busy long weekend holidays, and the intersection can be a pain to get through.

But here in Golden, we see the effects of truck traffic cutting across the road or up onto the curb every day. This spring, when road crews repainted the lines and the yellow curb, it was easy to see just how affected we are by this. Not even a week in with the new paint, black tire marks marred the curb where adults, children, dogs, and cyclists often stand.

We live with this hazard. Many people are too uncomfortable to ride their bikes across the bridge, knowing that traffic can be dangerous in this section.

To top it off, the bridge has been subjected to ice floes that have nearly taken it out, and we have heard Town officials say that one bad accident could put the bridge out of commission.

At one point, we got excited about a new bridge replacement. But now, we won’t hold our breath. Will it take a devastating accident to have these concerns heard?

Something needs to be done, and it should be prioritized immediately before we have to live through the long term effects of an accident, one that could potentially threaten a life.

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