Bridging the gap: Ponoka offers first rate trails

A bridge is put in place as part of the Trans Canada Trail just south of Ponoka on Highway 2A. Bruce Harbin Welding manufactured the bridge that will allow residents to ride horses from as far south as Morningside

A bridge is put in place as part of the Trans Canada Trail just south of Ponoka on Highway 2A. Bruce Harbin Welding manufactured the bridge that will allow residents to ride horses from as far south as Morningside

By Charles Tweed

The spotting of two new bridges will help further the completion of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) south of Ponoka.

The TCT will eventually connect the country coast-to-coast, weaving its way through 10 provinces and three territories.

The latest bridges connect Ponoka to Morningside and offer local residents a trail to walk, bike or ride.

“Ninety-five per cent of the people that use this trail are going to be locals. It’s going to be the person in Morningside taking their horses to our new ag building,” said Coun. John Jacobs. “We will have one of the best equestrian trails in the world.”

The 60-foot bridge was built by Bruce Harbin Welding and was put in place on March 1 and is fully portable, spanning across a man-made creek just south of the airport. Harbin turned the installation of the bridge into a family affair after school was cancelled in the Wolf Creek School Division.

“Foreman Levi Harbin, he’s been a big help carrying around bolts and running the site,” said Bruce with a smile, talking about his son.

Young Levi might be one of the future users of the trail, one of the benefits that Jacobs said couldn’t be ignored when Ponoka decided to become a part of the project.

“It gives people, of all ages a chance to be active and there are several future economic advantages. It puts us on the TCT map,” said Harbin.

The exposure may also mean some travellers from overseas. Harbin believes bikers from across the world may come to central Alberta for a chance to ride the trails. He still believes the trails would be used by locals the majority of the time, but thought the opportunity to show some of the natural beauty of the area was a positive.

Jacobs has heard concerns regarding the cleanliness of the trail but is confident the people who use the trail will help keep it clean.