Thursday, September 9, 2010

The price is right

As the debate unfolds on the future of the Traffic Bridge two considerations are noticeably absent in the discussions. The first being the condition and lifespans of both the Broadway and the University Bridges. Secondly, the roadway infrastructure changes necessary, and cost thereof, should the Traffic Bridge not exist for vehicle traffic.

As it stands the proposals for the future of the bridge seem to be: gonzo, rehab, redo or revise.

Gonzo appears to be on face value the cheapest, at least from a financial perspective, although it may have some political fallout for some elected officials. Outside of current users of the bridge and heritage diehards I suspect the rest of Saskatoonians don't care about anything other than costs. Many of the current users will be diverted after construction of the South Bridge is completed leaving area residents as the prime consideration. And if the gonzo option is exercised the heritage folks will always lament the loss and the bridge will join the Capital Theatre in the archives of bad council decisions.

Rehab weighs in the middle at $27 million. I think the cost of changing the roadway infrastructure to serve the core area residents should be factored in when considering this option. It may be that, when deducting those extra costs, that this option is viable.

A redo replica is in the running at $25 million and a new signature bridge is coming in last place at $60 million.

The revise options range between $17 and $34 million and include bike/pedestrian only and the non-vehicle bridge/park themes. These options do not include the cost of new roadway infrastructure to serve the core residents needs should vehicle traffic be eliminated.

I guess the only other option not being considered is ferry service.

It is at times like this, when necessary spending is on the horizon regardless of the option, that council should sit back and reconsider the debt it has created for nice but not necessarily necessary capital projects.

The only certainty we have is that politics will rule the decision. It is the right price we pay for our lackadaisical interest in civic government elections.


  1. This is turning into an incredable cash cow for engineering firms and consultants as well as guaranteeing work for at least a dozen inside city hall workers! Wasn't it only 5 years ago we spent $900,000 so the bridge would last another twenty years? I hope we didn't hire the same firms this time around. Plus we have to make sure we have extensive public consultation so all of the usual know nothing about anything nincompoops can share their opinions with the world.

  2. We did hire the same firms again.


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