Duluth pedestrian bridge has repeated breakdowns

Published 9:27 am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

DULUTH — Repeated breakdowns of a pedestrian lift bridge between the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center and the city’s Canal Park is causing angst for area businesses and forcing tourists and other pedestrians to walk nearly a mile to cross the Minnesota Slip.

The latest breakdown happened Saturday, when a cable snapped and part of the bridge got stuck in the down position. It trapped a Vista Fleet tour boat in the slip, forcing cancellation of two sold-out voyages.

“That mini lift bridge and the connection it provides is vital to the health of Canal Park businesses of all kinds, whether you operate a candy shop or a restaurant or a hotel,” said Brian Daugherty, president of Grandma’s Restaurant Co. “When it stops working, you can feel the immediate despair.”

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Duluth spokesman Daniel Fanning said the city is making repairs before upcoming events that are expected to bring large crowds to Duluth, including a Bob Dylan concert and a tall ships festival.

“In the long term, we realize we have to explore other options and see what else is a possibility. That includes everything from replacing the bridge to doing a big-picture repair or even filling in the slip,” Fanning said. “At this point, the administration is reviewing and evaluating the situation because we realize we can’t let this continue to happen, year in and year out.”