The outlook for this crossing is indeed blue. The mayor and most members of council have shot themselves and the taxpayers in the foot.
I have read a lot of engineering consultants’ reports in my lifetime. The reports try to deal with the questions they have been asked to resolve and propose solutions. The reports unfailingly recommend more work. So it is in this case. The repair of the existing bridge was dealt with, but the preferred recommendation was to build a new bridge, hence more work.
It is my view that the repair work estimate was highballed and the new construction cost lowballed.
The existing bridge is the perfect fit for the crossing requirement. It has an S bend entrance for downtown traffic thus slowing traffic entering Wharf or Johnson streets.
With respect to the issue of earthquake, the Blue Bridge is a latticework structure and I suspect that it would survive just as well as the Bay Street Bridge which is much more rigid; we have all seen pictures of such a bridge after a quake.
If council had set aside $10 million to $15 million for the Blue Bridge for sand blasting and painting and the replacement of steel components that have severe corrosion, the bridge would likely last well into the future. In other words, as someone recently commented, don’t panic over the earthquake risk for this bridge. If, perchance, it is levelled then build a new bridge. The argument that a new bridge should be built now because if built later it will cost much more is a red herring.
I think the taxpayers of Victoria were sold a bill of goods by a costly information campaign that did not properly address the alternative.
Paul H. Newcombe