Bridge repairs on Sec. Hwy. #616 tendered in June: province

Bridge repairs on Sec. Hwy. #616 tendered in June: province

Mayor of Millet concerned about financial effect of shutdown on community

An update on the condition of an important secondary highway crossing over the Hwy. #2 freeway was presented to Town of Millet council May 23.

At their regular meeting, Millet town council had invited Alberta Transportation’s Russ Watts to give an update on the condition and repair schedule of Sec. Hwy. #616 which passes east-west through Millet, then runs west to cross Hwy. #2. It’s a very popular road that is often used by motorists to access the freeway and Pigeon Lake area.

Last winter, a commercial truck driving on Hwy. #2 collided with the #616 overpass structure, causing damage serious enough to have the overpass closed at that time. However, it wasn’t long before the overpass was opened, although it’s now traffic light controlled and down to one alternating lane.

Mayor Tony Wadsworth thanked Watts for Alberta Transportation’s work re-opening the overpass. “We were almost feeling we were a dead town without that bridge,” said the mayor.

Watts said re-opening the overpass to one lane helped address many concerns. “We kind of managed to calm things a bit,” said Watts. There was confusion and concern after the collision that it could be years before the bridge was re-opened.

Town CAO Teri Pelletier noted the traffic light on the #616 overpass is a 90 second light, so the wait to cross is not very long.

Watts stated he had just talked to other Alberta Transportation staff and they said the tender for the bridge repairs is planned to be released in June of this year and repairs could begin in the fall.

Pelletier asked if, during repairs, the overpass could be re-opened to two-lane traffic.

Watts said that’s something the contractors will address in their tender. He said it would make sense because there are not many detour options available.

Mayor Wadsworth said he was still concerned about how, originally, no one was sure how long the bridge would be closed and the threat that posed to businesses in and around Millet. Wadsworth said he had some questions about the motorist who damaged the bridge, such as his or her identity.

Watts answered, “That’s a good question.” He said he doesn’t know the identity of the person driving the commercial truck, and that the RCMP would probably be the ones to ask. Watts also told councilors the provincial government has an entity that attempts to recover costs for damages where factors such as liability are concerned.

Wadsworth said the bridge troubles have had an effect on the community and it’s possible someone may seek recompense. “If they did, it would be natural to sue the owners of the vehicle,” added the mayor.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca