Burned bridge leads to traffic concerns on Hwy 61
Officials pondering what to do if Thunder Bay burned bridge stays closed for an extended period
In the 10 days since the closure of the James Street swing bridge, hundreds more vehicles in Thunder Bay now use Chippewa Road to get to and from Fort William First Nation.
The increase in traffic is causing concern for Neebing ward councillor Linda Rydholm, who said she worries about the intersection of Chippewa Road and Highway 61.
“With that increase in traffic, at times, especially early in the morning, and later in the afternoon [and] evening, there are long lineups for people waiting to turn,” she said. “There have been, reported to me, some near misses.”
Rydholm said she would like to see temporary signage or lights put up at the intersection.
However the OPP say they patrol the area every shift and have not received any traffic complaints.
The Ministry of Transportation has told CBC News it’s monitoring traffic flow and is reviewing options to address the potential of an extended closure of the swing bridge.
CN Rail has not yet disclosed the results of a consultant’s report on what’s needed to repair the road portion of the bridge.
In the meantime, Rydholm said she hopes drivers will be more attentive to traffic conditions in that area.
"On a temporary basis I would hope the OPP would set up signage, at least, warning people ... maybe [with] lights," she said. "[The OPP] would have to determine the proper safety measure there."