CPR bridge walkway reconstruction progress slower than hoped
In a February press release, the City indicated that it hoped to have an estimate on the costs of reconstructing the pathway on the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) bridge across the Otonabee River by early May. When nothing was announced last month during the City Shifting Gears program, I contacted Brian Burchart, Planner, Urban Design for the City to see how things were progressing.
Workers remove concrete slabs from CPR bridge pathway
(image from Peterborough Examiner)
After a very prompt and open response, it turns out engaging with the engineering staff at the CPR had hit a few snags and the process progressed slower than hoped (recall there was a 9-day strike at CP). City staff had to deal with a number of different CPR engineering staff, including discussions with CPR engineers in Calgary, all in an effort to define the best approach to the project.
After several reviews and design improvements, the City is expecting final design drawings from its consulting engineers sometime this week. It appears that things have been worked out and the plans are due to go to the City Planning Committee in mid July. Here, the project should receive approval (including funding approval) and move forward for tender and a start on construction, hopefully in the fall.
The project is complicated as the city has an interest in keeping a public path open on what is, essentially, the property of a private corporation, the CPR. Having a public pathway on the side of a railway bridge is pretty unique and both City staff and the engineers want to maximize the possibilities of improving the pathway. The bridge pathway dates back to 1916. Further adding to the complexity of the whole process is that construction has to have the approval of the Trent-Severn Waterway, a Federal Government agency…one that has been hit with some significant staffing cutbacks lately.
From my communications with City staff and at least one councilor, it is clear that this is definitely a priority project for the City. Indeed, the City opened up a million dollars for the project in its 2012 budget. Moving it forward is just taking more time than first envisioned.
Let’s hope for good news in mid July.
And, hey, if you want this to move forward, it wouldn’t hurt to contact your councilor and let them know you appreciate the progress the City is making on this and you look forward to the project’s completion.