Opinion: A bridge too far

Suggestions to build an entirely new Vedder crossing at Tyson Road is as unworkable as it is unnecessary.

The recent announcement that the Vedder Bridge will be replaced for $12 million brought reactions ranging from relief, to frustration.

But one of the strangest reactions was a call to build an entirely new crossing nearly a kilometre downstream.

True, there have been murmurs in the past. But frankly such an alignment is so fraught with challenges, that it can hardly be taken seriously.

The plan would be to extend Tyson Road, cross the Vedder River and connect with Vedder Mountain Road. Simple on a map, but difficult (and expensive) in reality.

Here’s why:

• The two-lane Tyson Road ends in a cul-de-sac at Petawawa Road, some 200 metres from the river’s edge. At the least, it would require construction of nearly two football fields worth of roadway, through what is now forest.

• The crossing at that point is wider than the current bridge location (or proposed new site), meaning more bridge and therefore more money.

• It would introduce a busy roadway over the heads of the 18,000 people who use the Vedder Trail each month. And because of the width, pilings would have to be driven into the riverbed, furthering its impact on the environment.

• Tyson Road, meanwhile, is woefully equipped to deal with the increased traffic flows a bridge would create. Although Evans Road was built to a four-lane standard, that was in anticipation of traffic heading north over the highway to take pressure off the congested Vedder corridor.

• Heading south, Evans traffic merges onto two-lane Tyson, which then wends through residential streets, past farms, a school, a library, Twin Rinks and finally Canada Education Park. Construction of two roundabouts has alleviated some congestion, but the prospect of transferring all that Cultus Lake traffic over to Tyson is frightening.

It’s important to look at all options when developing long-range infrastructure plans. But tossing out red herrings that are too costly and unworkable, only muddies the water.