BIGHORN – The future of a pedestrian bridge across Exshaw Creek is a bit brighter this week.
The crossing structure will be partially funded after Alberta Transportation announced a grant for up to $283,500 for the Exshaw pedestrian bridge.
“This is excellent news,” MD of Bighorn Reeve Dene Cooper said.
“I think that the pedestrian bridge is heavily used and appreciated by the community.”
Funded under the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP), the pedestrian bridge is part of the Exshaw Creek debris-flood mitigation project and was the only part of the project that did not initially receive federal or provincial funding.
At an open house for the project earlier this year, the project engineer confirmed that the MD of Bighorn elected to proceed with the bridge despite lack of funding after the MD realized the “importance of the bridge.”
A total of $8.9 million was funded for the project including $1.9 million from the federal government, a $3.3 million commitment from the province and an additional $3.7 million committed from Lafarge in material and land.
Now Alberta Transportation is kicking in a grant of 75 per cent of the estimated eligible project costs up to $283,500.
“I see it as well placed funding and definitely the deliverability is safety for the pedestrian traffic in the community,” Cooper said.
The Reeve also wanted to give credit to MD of Bighorn Exshaw councillor Paul Ryan who was “very involved with this initiative and outcome.”
Ryan announced the funding on social media and joked that “hopefully I won’t have to do a bottle drive” for the rest of the funding.
“It provides pedestrian movement without having to go onto Highway 1A, which is dangerous for all of us but especially children,” Cooper said.
The bridge, also known in the community as the “Yellow Bridge” was damaged in the 2013 flood. Other major components of the Exshaw Creek debris-flood mitigation project include a debris retention structure, channel evacuation, construction of a sediment pond, weir and spillway, and installation of channel amouring.
A contractor was awarded the $5.1 million project in March, with construction beginning last week. The projected completion date for all major and minor construction is June 2020, the seven-year anniversary since the flood.