Funds strategy needed for bridge safety

With the provincial government bridge funding program gone Ponoka County will replace a number of bridges itself.

With the provincial government bridge funding program gone Ponoka County will replace a number of bridges itself.

Recently the Tompkins Bridge on the Battle River was removed — it was closed for 15 years — and a temporary bridge structure was put in place.

The alternative bridge, which cost $100,000 as opposed to $ 1 million for a new bridge, is classified as a temporary bridge but for now has a permanent place in the county.

To keep bridgeways safe the county is looking at the provinces Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding as a resource pool.

No immediate drastic action has to take place but county CAO Charlie Cutforth says many of the bridges were built at the same time during the 1950s and will need replacing at the same time.

The county has 230 bridges, including major culverts.

““I think we need to establish a bridge reserve,” said Cutforth. “We could almost be replacing a bridge a year.”

“As long as MSI funding stays available we can do that,” he added.

While the reserve is a priority no action was taken by council at the April 23 meeting.