City polling residents about new multi-use McIntyre River bridge

The sidewalks on the existing bridge aren't big enough to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians side by side, so the city is using provincial funds to add a second structure.

The city received $325,000 from the provincial government to pay for the project.

The sidewalks on the existing McIntyre River bridge aren't big enough to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians side by side, so the city is using provincial funds to add a second structure. (Heather Kitching/CBC)

The City of Thunder Bay and Confederation College are planning to build a new, multi-use bridge over the McIntyre River at the college — and they're asking the public for input about what that bridge should look like.

On Wednesday, the college hosted an open house, where the city displayed information panels about the bridge options, and mobility coordinator Adam Krupper answered questions.

"[There's] an existing bridge, and it's got two sidewalks, but it's not quite wide enough for bikes and pedestrians to share it," Krupper explained, "so we said, 'let's find a better solution.'"

Thunder Bay mobility coordinator Adam Krupper (centre) presents options for a new McIntyre River bridge, to guests at a Confederation College open house. (Heather Kitching/CBC)

After a year of research and work with the college, they came up with a range of possible locations and appearances for the second bridge, he added.

"There's different types of materials the bridge could be made out of," Krupper explained, noting the options were similar in cost.  "It could be made out of wood, aluminum, steel ... Not only that but bridges can be built to look different ways.  Some of them can have big graceful arches. Some of them can look like train bridges." 
Visitors to an open house at Confederation College check out options for the new multi-use bridge over the McIntyre River. (Heather Kitching/CBC)

Confederation College faculty member Jeff Pascua, who uses the bridge each day he's teaching and who visited the open house, said he favoured the timber designs because they blend in well with the college's natural surroundings.

"I'm a big fan of the natural aspects of the designs," he said.

The city received $325,000 from the provincial government to pay for the project.

It will gather feedback on the bridge through early March, Krupper said, then use that feedback to help produce a final report, which will inform the bridge design.

It has posted information about the options on its Active Transportation page.  It's also posted a link to a survey.