Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.COM)
The Minnesota Slip Bridge in Duluth has broken down...again.
The bridge has a history of malfunctioning, and it's funded by taxpayer dollars.
So when the bridge breaks it's not just a problem for charter fishing boats in the slip, nor businesses in Canal Park, it's a problem for thte whole city.
City taxpayers are paying for the multiple repairs.
Saturday afternoon a cable snapped while the bridge was lowering, resulting in the bridge dropping far below it's intended landing point.
In addition, the sides of the bridge collided, causing further structural damage.
Dave Campbell, lift bridge supervisor, blames the bridge's age and operating system for the frequent malfunctions.
"It's old, the design of it is older. It runs on a very mechanical type system of pulleys and cables."
Cables, that need to be replaced every month at a cost of about $2,225, not including construction and manpower costs. And that's if the bridge isn't already broken. Most agree the bridge needs fixing but it all comes down to funding.
In its current state the cable replacement will cost about a thousand dollars, plus other significant repairs.
The city plans to have the bridge operable within the next few weeks but the repairs will be stop–gap to hopefully keep it operating through the summer.
"They're replacing the belt this week. The engineers that know a lot more about this than I do are confident that will keep the bridge running for the next few weeks hopefully the next few months. Then we can address the bigger picture so this doesn't happen year after year," says Daniel Fanning of the mayor's office in Duluth.
The more permanent fixes will have to wait until after planned events like the popular Tall Ships Festival.
And while its annoying to pedestrians when the bridge is down, its costly for the charter fishing boats that dock in the slip by the Irvin.
"To me it would be nice to get rid of the bridge," say Jon Dahl Captain of Adventure Sport Fishing.
However, Dahl says since the bridge has been stuck in the upright position, business has gone up too.
"It actually helps our business because people walk by us instead of just walking across the bridge and going to the arena....we're going through about three or four time more brochures when people walk by here."
But the mile or so walk from Canal Park, around the slip, is annoying to many, so it is a problem...
There are several solutions being discussed, including replacing the bridge or transforming its system of operation from cables and pulley to an hydraulics system.
Posted to teh web by Gabrielle Ware