THUNDER BAY, ONT. — Work will begin on the Woodcrest Road bridge, located south of John Street Road, on July 18 with a completion date set for the end of September. Engineers determined that the deteriorating steel tendons, which support the structure, caused the bridge to be unsafe for heavy loads or large trucks.
“We ended up having to shut it down earlier this year,” said Mike Vogrig, project engineer with the City of Thunder Bay. “It was impossible to control the traffic effectively to ensure just passenger vehicles were using it, so the decision was made to close it permanently until it could be replaced this summer.”
A pre-cast concrete structure with a paved deck will replace the wooden structure.
The timing of the whole project is in question, especially with two greenhouse businesses located south of the bridge. Vogrig says the hold-up is with the availability of precast concrete, which is manufactured in Winnipeg. The concrete likely won’t be ready and shipped until about September.
Sean Trevisanutto, president of Creekside Nursery and Trevisanutto’s Greenhouses, took matters into his own hands and installed his own detour signs to direct traffic to his businesses, worrying that customers will have trouble finding them with the city’s detour signage. The signs worked but not without a fight.
“We just had to do it on our own,” he said. “(The city) wanted us to take them down, but we kind of had to fight with them a little bit about how people are going to find us if we didn’t have any signage up,” he said. “This is a rural area, unlike Memorial Avenue where you can just go around a city block.”
After calls to city councillors, Trevisanutto was able to keep his signs up and business was good through their busy season.
However, Trevi’s Treats ice cream shop, which attracts a substantial amount of pedestrian traffic, has been closed because once construction begins, there will be no foot traffic across the bridge.
“It’s not really our busy season so it kind of works out in a way,” he said. “It’s been a little bit of an inconvenience for us, but with the signage and everything that we put up, I think we made it through the hard part. “
Trevisanutto added that because the detour signs only point one way toward the greenhouses, his customers can’t seem to find their way out and return to ask for directions.
Until the bridge is replaced, a posted detour route is available to access Woodcrest Road by Goods Road off of Belrose Road.
Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal