Fire up the fireworks and break out the barricades.
The Saskatoon Fireworks Festival is set to become the first event for which the rebuilt Traffic Bridge will be closed to motor vehicles.
Festival director Kim Ali appeared before city council’s transportation committee on Monday to request the closure of the bridge for two days at the end of August to accommodate the festival.
Under the plan, the Traffic Bridge would host food trucks and entertainment and the fireworks would be launched from the Broadway Bridge, which would also be closed in the evening for two days.
The Broadway Bridge is considered the ideal spot to launch fireworks for spectators, Ali said.
“In general, I think it’s a terrific idea,” said Coun. Cynthia Block, who represents the Nutana neighbourhood and downtown, which are connected by the two bridges.
The committee voted to direct the city administration to work with the festival to address any issues with the closures.
After the closure of the Traffic Bridge and during its reconstruction, the festival launched the fireworks from the Broadway Bridge and from a barge on the river, Ali noted. The barge was intended as an interim approach.
The “hot zone” for launching fireworks is a circular area with a 175-metre radius, she added.
The Traffic Bridge falls within the hot zone if fireworks are launched from the Broadway Bridge, so it would need to be closed to traffic and people during the fireworks.
Under the festival’s plan, the Traffic Bridge would close for vehicles at 8 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 30 and reopen at midnight on Saturday, Aug. 31. The Broadway Bridge would close on both Friday and Saturday around 6:45 p.m. and reopen after cleanup at 11 p.m.
Part of Spadina Crescent would also need to be closed from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1 while the fireworks are set up.
The fireworks festival was first staged on the Labour Day weekend in 2008, when the old Traffic Bridge was closed to vehicles and pedestrians from 6 p.m. Friday to 3 p.m. Monday.
City hall rejected a request for the inaugural festival to close the Traffic Bridge for five days. The rebuilt Traffic Bridge was touted as a location for occasional events and festivals that would close the span to vehicle traffic.
The transportation committee also considered a report on Monday that details construction work on the nearby Senator Sidney L. Buckwold Bridge over the next two years.
Rehabilitation work on the Buckwold Bridge will reduce the southbound traffic to a single lane from spring to fall this year, but the walkway on the east side of the bridge is expected to remain open.
Next year, the walkway is expected to close and northbound traffic will be reduced to one lane.