When the iconic timberframe Pedestrian Bridge officials were told it would last for hundreds of years

When the iconic timberframe Pedestrian Bridge officials were told it would last for hundreds of years

Pedestrian Bridge needs unexpected repairs

Golden's iconic timberframe Pedestrian Bridge is in need of repairs only 15 years after its construction.

In the 15 years the green-roofed pedestrian bridge has stood over the Kicking Horse River, it has become a symbol of Golden culture. But to keep that symbol alive and well, it is going to cost the Town of Golden more than half a million dollars.

The municipality underwent a standard condition assessment on the bridge, as it has been doing with its other assets. But officials were shocked by the results.

“The findings of that condition assessment are somewhat sobering,” said Jon Wilsgard, CAO for the Town of Golden. “I’m quite surprised.”

Water has caused damage to the substructure of the bridge, making it necessary to repair. And according to the engineering firm who did the assessment, it needs to be done this calendar year.

“We’re thankful we did undertake this assessment,” said Wilsgard. Without this report, the municipality would have been unaware of the risks, especially given that during its construction in 2001 council was given to understand the bridge wouldn’t need upgrades for 100 years or more.

Engineers have estimated the project to cost $585,200. Town staff has put together a plan to draw the funds from several different sources, but it will still have an impact on this year’s budget, which went through first reading in December. That was before the condition assessment on the bridge was in.

The staff report reads, “Given its relative criticality, staff propose several tax funded projects currently listed in the draft financial plan be cancelled,  with their funding reallocated to this project.”

Not only will Town projects (most of which relate to upgrades to Town Hall), be cancelled, but the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) project to put an amphitheatre in Spirit Square will also have its funding reallocated to repair the bridge.

The Standing Committee on Finance has approved staff’s recommendation to pull funding from RMI, project reallocations, the Capital Road Reserve Fund, as well as borrow $169,798 through short-term lending. Should the municipality be successful in obtaining grant money, that will eliminate the need to borrow.

“This provides the least impact to our tax base,” said Wilsgard. In other words, some funds will be shuffled in the budget, but the budget overall will not increase, and therefore will not affect taxes.

Although they expressed disappointment that the bridge deteriorated this quickly, council unanimously agreed to fund the repairs this year.

“I support scraping the money together to do this work,” said Coun. Bruce Fairley.

“I’m shocked we’re looking at a half a million dollar bill for something that was supposed to last,” said Mayor Ron Oszust, who was present during the bridge’s construction 15 years ago.

“It’s frustrating.”

The condition assessment report recommended that work begin in June, however Wilsgard hopes that it will be feasible to push it to late summer or early fall.

Given the typical water levels on the Kicking Horse River in June, it may not be possible to do the work at that time. This way construction would also not impact summer events in Spirit Square.

Construction would see the bridge closed to pedestrians.

 

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