South Peace News
An aging bridge used heavily by people in the western part of Big Lakes County could be upgraded.
At its regular meeting Oct. 25, council supported a recommendation to share 25 per cent of the cost of an engineering assessment for the bridge on the Alder Ridge Road.
The request came from the M.D. of Smoky River where the bridge is located.
“Everyone in that area uses it,” says Reeve Ken Matthews.
Smoky River has requested money from the county and the M.D. of Greenview for an engineering assessment. The cost to Big Lakes is $13,250.
“The bridge is used by us, Greenview and Smoky River, it’s a major bridge,” Abel says.
However, it could be a major cost for the municipal partners.
“That’s about a $10-12 million budget to replace it,” Abel says.
“Alberta Transportation doesn’t fund major bridges any more.
“A 2012 structural assessment identified serious deficiencies that would require a major evaluation to determine the most appropriate action to be taken,” Abel adds.
After the assessment has been completed, the partners would determine future cost-sharing options and whether or not to proceed.
“Depending upon the outcome of the study, any major rehabilitation or construction would be a significant challenge for the municipality with our population,” says a letter from Smoky River Reeve Robert Brochu.
“Ongoing deck and miscellaneous repairs have been done by Smoky River over the past decades, but there is a need to carry out a major evaluation of the bridge.”
A new bridge would be valuable to Big Lakes County.
“Use of this bridge would benefit the county by providing a more direct route from gravel resources…to our gravel stockpile site in Gilwood and reducing the hauling costs…,” Abel says.
It is unlikely the savings would equate to the cost of a 25 per cost-sharing agreement for major rehabilitation or replacement.