For the sake of argument, let’s take it as a given that the Cameron Street Bridge needs to be replaced.
Though some, including members of city council, still differ on this point pointing out that for a town this size we have quite enough river crossings even without the venerable old bridge.
This would be a giant step backwards, with consequences detrimental to the lives of all who call Prince George home.
So we need a replacement.
Having said that the most important factor is arguably location, location, location.
It’s tough to fault the original designers of the Cameron Street Bridge if their structure does not meet the requirements of the city 70 years down the road. But the designers of the new bridge must, taking all traffic and social pressures into account, design a structure that serves this city for decades to come.
The location of the current bridge is clearly flawed in today’s context. While the site is suitable from an engineering standpoint, building the new bridge on the same spot does little to address the problems with the routing of industrial traffic, the most critical user of the existing bridge.
Our other existing bridges do nothing to alleviate the problem of industrial traffic moving through the most populated and traffic-congested areas of town. Designers have the burden of facilitating the rapid and safe movement of hundreds of heavy trucks per day linking them to existing highways.
Another reason to choose a new site is the preservation of the grand old bridge itself. It’s value as a piece of history is second only to its value as a pedestrian and non-motorized traffic link to the north shore of the Nechako and the recreational opportunities that entails.
So, contrary to a saying popular when the first settlers came to this area, those entrusted with the new bridge should get in a ‘Go East’ state of mind.