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Trail Historical Society producing bridge models

As part of efforts to look at reopening the old bridge in Trail to pedestrian traffic, the local historical society is now selling replica models of the historic span.

The models, which are a few inches long, are being produced on a 3D printer and are available at the Riverfront Centre for $7 each. Society chair Doug Bruce says they have proven very popular since they went on sale last month.

For more than a year a historical society committee has been exploring the idea of reopening the Columbia River crossing, which opened in 1912 but has been closed since 2010 based on on an engineer’s recommendation that said it could not “be used in any way, shape or form due to severe deterioration.”

As a result, the Columbia River Skywalk was built to handle the utility lines that the old bridge previously carried. It opened in late 2016 and included a pedestrian crossing.

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The old bridge is owned by the City of Trail and is slated for demolition, but no timetable has been given for that to happen.

“There’s a chain link fence around it,” Bruce says. “I think we could do better than that. I’m not sure of the structural ability of the bridge, but if we’re given the go-ahead we’d certainly look into that. I think it would be cool to say ‘That bridge is the oldest vehicular bridge across the Columbia River in Canada.’ I think it’s historically significant.”

Bruce said reopening the bridge to pedestrians would create “a nice figure eight loop one could do” among the city’s three bridges.

He said they are thinking about creating another model as well, of the Victoria Street bridge, built in 1961.

“We’re thinking if these bridges continue to sell as quickly as they have been going, we’ve got a prototype for the new bridge we would put together as well.”

The historical society will be marking its 70th anniversary in September.

Bruce said they have plans to install additional historical plaques around the city, including one identifying the significance of the smelter and another marking the East Trail flood of the 1950s.

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