It didn’t take long for crews to take down the old North Bridge last week

It didn’t take long for crews to take down the old North Bridge last week

Old North Bridge removed from Battle River

The old North Bridge saw its final days last week as crews removed it piece by piece.

The old North Bridge saw its final days last week as crews removed it piece by piece.

Starting with the wood planks, crews went through the steps of removing the bridge from the Battle River with the substructure and large parapets being taken off. From there, workers took time to dismantle bridge while blocking access to the river from that portion of the road.

A press release from the Town of Ponoka stated the main reason for the removal was the risk of failure in the bridge’s critical elements, cited from a 2013 report on the bridge.

“The severe rot in many of the piles supporting the bridge reduces the lateral and compressive capacity of the bridge substructure, basically putting it at risk of collapsing, which is why it had to be removed,” said Justin Caslor, engineering technician for the town in the release.

There has been some discussion among residents about leaving it as a pedestrian bridge, however, the town decided against that once it was determined rehabilitation would cost approximately $1.3 million to ensure it would be safe to use. Despite the dismantling, residents still have several bridge crossing options.

“With the opening of the new bridge earlier this month, Ponoka now has four pedestrian crossings over the river all within town limits, and all within two kms of each other making the town a very walkable and pedestrian-friendly community,” added Mayor Rick Bonnett.

The new North Bridge has a two and half metre wide sidewalk, allowing for two bicyclists to ride side by side each other. The new bridge is constructed of high-performance concrete and steel, states the release, and is expected to last at least 100 years. It was built a full metre higher than the old bridge to protect against flooding.

Don’t forget about the bridge naming contest

There is time to throw in names for the new bridge.

The town invites the public to submit suggested names for the new bridge by 4 p.m. on Sept. 28. The winning submission will be awarded a $200 Town of Ponoka gift certificate, which can be applied toward a Ponoka Aquaplex membership or a Town of Ponoka utility bill credit.

Contest entry forms are available at Ponoka Town Hall, the Ponoka Visitor Information Centre, and online at www.ponoka.ca.