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Volume 23, Number 44, Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Plans for bridge almost complete

I understand a certain skepticism when it comes to our new bridge. Anyone following government promises of the past has reason to be less than excited about a mere announcement.

Approval of our new hospital was announced in 2004, but it didn't open until 2012, for example. Construction didn't even start until 2008 and there were many times along the way that construction was not only delayed, but put in doubt due to financial issues, new priorities, etc.

Based on this kind of timeline, the fact the new bridge was announced only in 2017 means we shouldn't expect to actually see one before 2025.

But Alberta Transportation Minister Brian Mason was here this week to say work should start on the bridge next year with completion three years after that.

Some differences this time include the fact the project is already in the provincial budget and Premier Rachel Notley has said it is a priority project that will not be delayed.

Some proof was also provided as early as last winter when soil samples were taken along the route of the new bridge. Work on the Highway 15/37/825 intersection is further proof.

It's still reasonable to be a little skeptical. But I urge you not to listen to the trolls out there that claim it is impossible to get federal environmental approval in time or to get cooperation from the railway to get under their bridge.

Nor will any houses be impacted by the project. The highway right of way is already wide enough for four lanes on the Fort Saskatchewan side. And the 99 Avenue bridges don't need to be replaced, only modified.

Believe it. A new bridge is coming, and probably much sooner than you think.

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018

Plan calls for slower traffic in FortNEWS/Entries/2018/11/14_Plan_calls_for_slower_traffic_in_Fort.html

Trolls wrong about new bridge

Plans for a new bridge are proceeding well, Alberta Transportation Minister Brian Mason told Fort officials this week.

Mason made a special trip to town to look at the Highway 15 bridge and review the planned site of the new bridge and expanded highway.  “I just think it’s a good chance for me, as the minister, to come and check on the results of the decision we’ve made,” he said Tuesday morning, Nov. 13.

“I think it’s also a good opportunity for us to thank Minister Mason for this project, because it really is important to the citizens of Fort Saskatchewan,” added Mayor Gale Katchur. She noted that it has been wanted for several decades and many lives have been lost while waiting for this project.

“It’s important to industry, it’s important to safety, and it’s important for future growth,” agreed MLA Jessica Littlewood.

Mason, Littlewood and Katchur toured the site together and discussed details of the project.

Engineering design work is now almost done, Mason noted, and the new bridge and highway expansion work should go out to tender early in the new year.

Actual construction should take three years and cost a total of $211 million he added.

The new bridge will be built beside the existing Highway 15 bridge and double the capacity of the crossing. Highway 15 will also be increased to four lanes.

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018