Bridge opening set for Monday

Town of Ponoka planners set to inaugurate the new north bridge this Monday, Aug. 8.

After months of controversy and debate, which cost the former Town of Ponoka CAO and Director of Corporate services their jobs and an unsuccessful attempt to petition the town management to stop borrowing for it, the new bridge replacing the old one over the Battle River is now ready to be inaugurated, the town has announced.

A press statement from the town administration said the new bridge would be opened to vehicle traffic on Monday, Aug. 8 and that the inauguration would be marked with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a BBQ at 11:30 a.m. at the 50 Avenue end of the bridge. The portion of the Diamond Willow Trail that was closed during construction of the new bridge will also reopen on Aug. 8, the statement said.

Mayor Rick Bonnett described the new bridge as “a vital part of the town’s infrastructure” and thanked Ponoka residents for their patience during the construction phase.

According to the mayor, the project has been completed on time and within the budget despite the construction work having been occasionally hampered by unseasonally heavy rain last month.

Bridge Naming Contest

A bridge naming contest will be launched at the ribbon cutting event and residents will be invited to submit suggested names for the new bridge, according to the town statement. Contest details will be posted on the town’s website, social media and on the Hometown Weekly News page in next week’s edition of Ponoka News.

The new bridge is replacing the old North Bridge which has served the community for 107 years, way longer than its originally planned life span.

The town’s statement says the new bridge is built to last a minimum of 100 years. It has been constructed with high performance concrete and steel and has a weight capacity of 80 tons.