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Problems have arisen with all of the pedestrians walking every which way at the cove in an effort to view bears.
That situation creates safety concerns — first for the pedestrians intermingling with highway traffic, and second with the viewing traffic slowing down and stopping to watch the wild animals.
A bridge would at least help to direct pedestrians off the highway and away from motor vehicles, and provide a place from which they could view the bears.
The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly withdrew $1.15 million from its commercial passenger vessel account this week at the request of member Glen Thompson. About $150,000 has been designated for design of the bridge.
But Thompson, and the other Assembly members who voted for the motion, didn't support beginning the design immediately. Thompson expressed an interest in waiting and gathering more information, presumably a report on how changes made for this summer are working out.
The Alaska Department of Transportation reduced the speed in the cove for the summer bear-viewing season. The Alaska State Troopers and the borough planned to increase enforcement in the area as well, keeping traffic flowing and at the posted speeds.
The bear viewing isn't likely to diminish at all. Tour operators take tourists to see the bears there; locals take visitors to view the same bears. After seeing the bears, the word spreads about the opportunity to see bears at Ketchikan's Herring Cove. Others will come — some for just that purpose.
The bridge will make the most sense sooner or later.