Bridges to be closed to Riverboat Days fireworks viewing

Combination of pedestrians and traffic a recipe for trouble, authorities say

YOU MIGHT want to go early to find a spot to watch the fireworks at Riverboat Days this year.

For the first time, the Hwy16 bridges that span the Skeena River at Ferry Island will be closed to pedestrians for safety reasons, says Riverboat Days committee president Joyce Gibson.

We’re not allowing people on the new bridges and that is on the request of the RCMP and Ministry of Highways,” she said.

After last year’s Riverboat Days, and a few problems, the RCMP and ministry met with the committee to discuss the danger of people watching fireworks on the new bridge while traffic is travelling over it, she said.

I’ve sat up there by Walmart and those trucks don’t slow down for nothing and that’s why the RCMP called us to a meeting to say it was an accident waiting to happen,” said Gibson.

Crowds of people have traditionally gathered along the bridges to watch the Saturday late-night fireworks.

The old bridge will be closed to traffic as usual and people can go there to watch the fireworks or to Ferry Island; the only concern with going there is that there’s no lighting, she added.

The fire department will ensure that while people can go down to Ferry Island, they won’t be able to go through a barricade into the area where the fireworks are set off.

Areas of the Bench also offer prime fireworks watching spots as well.