Remnants of the flood: a bridge to nowhere

Remnants of the Lower Arb footbridgeA bridge to nowhere in the Lower ArbFlood debris in Spring CreekThe sands of Laird Field

While walking in the Lower Arb on Wednesday (a balmy 68 degrees, so long ago), I noticed that the footbridge at the west end of the tennis courts that crosses over Spring Creek just before it empties into the Cannon River was washed out in the flood.  If you’re up for a balance challenge, though, you can still get across on the wiggly wobbly (heh) iron bars.

There are other scars to view, too.


  1. Talk about a bridge to nowhere… the lights went out on the 4th St Bridge downtown at 10:45 am on September 24th and are still out…I appreciate Griff’s loving a challenge and finding a way across the perhaps low-priority damaged Bridge in the Arb…however, I depend on perhaps less risk-adverse and physically-abled folks to venture from Bridge Square over the 4th Street Bridge in the evenings to enjoy the the artwork at ArtOnWater Gallery and its blackbox(back) gallery…I know what is wrong and what is being done about it…my real question is who has known about situation here and does anyone give a sh*t…

    November 14, 2010
  2. What IS the situation here? What IS being done? My friend and I went from the Craft Collective Artists’ Reception on Division to see the reception for Kathy Miller at ArtonWater Gallery Thurs. night and were amazed how dark it was on the bridge. Had no idea it dates back to Sept. 24. Really, this is dangerous. Winter Walk is coming up. Will we be relying on luminarias to light up the bridge??

    November 14, 2010
  3. kiffi summa said:

    Heard straight from the mouth of Tim Madigan, at the NDDC planning meeting tonight : The City and Excel energy are completely aware of the no-lights-on-the- 4th street bridge situation. The transformer (I think that’s the right part) was damaged in the flood, and required a special parts order, which was backordered by Excel.

    If the part does not come in time for that repair , Excel has told the City they will “jury-rig” something for Winter Walk, ensuring that the Bridge is lit.

    November 17, 2010
  4. Thanks for the info, Kiffi. I looked up the term “jerry-built” which means “built poorly, of cheap materials,” and hope that is not what is meant. It seems like a public safety sort of thing where something temporary SHOULD have been done by now, not just for a Winter Walk deadline.

    November 17, 2010
  5. john george said:

    Susan- I’m certainly no electrician, but having grown up on a small farm, we many times “jury-rigged” a piece of equipment to get the job finished before we could get the actual replacement part. If this meant adapting a power take-off shaft from the mower to run the hay bailer, then that is what we did. This differs quite a bit from a “jerry-built” (poorly built or designed) piece of equipment, although I have had my experiences with those machines, also.

    November 17, 2010
  6. Thanks for that info, John! I would settle for “jury-rigged” OR even “jerry-built” to get some light on that dark bridge ASAP! It is taking too long and is a safety issue.

    November 17, 2010
  7. Phil Poyner said:

    Yeap, jury-rigged and jerry-built are expresions with different origins. I have also heard the expression “jerry-rigged” around the military. It comes from WWII when folks would use the metal from German “jerry cans” to make sheet metal repairs to equipment (in other words, jury-rigging with jerry cans equals jerry-rigging). Anyway, like George did around the farm, I also did a lot of jury-rigging in the military. If a generator failed we’d daisy chain extension cords from a generator that worked. We did things to make it safe: Wrap the joining plugs with electricians and speed tape, bury the line to make sure it didn’t get run over or trip someone, and then make sure we didn’t draw more power than the generator could handle. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it was safe and did the trick temporarily.

    And for anyone that was wondering, the answer is “yes,I do have a head full of absolutely useless information”!

    November 17, 2010
  8. kiffi summa said:

    The point I meant to make here is simply that the “City” is well aware of the lighting problem on the bridge; Excel energy is well aware of the lighting problem on the bridge.
    It will be fixed, either permanently or temporarily for Winter Walk.

    November 18, 2010
  9. The first time I brought the lighting situation to Tim Madigan’s attention, he promptly dug into it and called me back with info about the reason and the repair status – thanks, Tim.

    The real issue is that someone needs to do something, anything, immediately about the situation. Winter Walk, my a**. What the hell do I do about the lack of foot traffic to my business now from Bridge Square to 3rd and Water St. – light some old tires afire!

    The westside continues to be a Downtown’s shopper’s paradise’s backwater… my gallery’s loyal local patrons know the (dimly) lighted back way over the footbridge…what the he** am I to think about the plight of the expensively sought, hard won regional visitors and college parents when confronted by a dark, foreboding 4th St bridge route to the ‘westside’?

    Let the jerry-rigging-jurying-jigging begin… in the meantime, I’ll accept volunteers to help me put candelarias on the bridge for this Saturday’s Northfield Art Crawl – which is mentioned in the Star Trib…

    November 18, 2010
  10. kiffi summa said:

    Maybe the city could park a crane truck with lights on it … there… for the Gallery crawl…
    Wait ! does the city have a crane truck? seem to remember them having to borrow one from Dundas to put up the surveillance camera during the graffiti ‘wars’…


    what about a whole bunch of LED lights strung along the bridge railings…giant candelabras borrowed from the churches… a bonfire in the middle of the bridge…

    Come on guys, this is Northfield; get a committee together and solve the problem!

    November 18, 2010
  11. john george said:

    How about renting one of those portable lights that contractors use for night work along the metro freeways? Those things would pretty much light up the whole Bridge Square area. They are self contained with their own generator. Other than the noise of its engine, there wouldn’t be much to tolerate for a few hours. Wouldn’t have to run extension cords or anything. I wonder if any local contractors have access to one they could donate for the evening?

    November 18, 2010
  12. This morning I saw the City’s electrical contractor, Guth Electric, at work on the electrical wiring by the west end of the footbridge (which is where the 4th Street Bridge light circuit originates). Yes, I was up early (for the Save the Depot’s Q-Block Feasibility Charrette); and I did thank Interim City Administrator Tim Madigan there for the progress.

    This Saturday’s Gallery Crawl is e- posted in the Strib, Pioneer Press, Rochester PostBulletin and other places thanks to CVB PR consultant Amy Acheson. Let there be light!

    November 19, 2010
  13. Dean Kjerland said:

    For the record, I wish to report that as of Dec 1st the 4th Street Bridge lights (and others on the circuit) are back on. The fix was reported in the City Administrator’s Memo of Dec 3…thanks Tim and staff.

    December 7, 2010

Leave a Reply