A bridge near Thorsby so dangerous it was closed to all usage is being repaired over the course of this fall and winter.
Leduc County council approved funding of $550,000 from the Infrastructure Stabilization Reserve Fund at its Sept. 27 meeting for the bridge repairs — Range Road 11, northeast of Thorsby.
The bridge was closed Sept. 8, 2016. Prior to that load tonnage was reduced to five tonnes and the west lane of the bridge was closed. However, council was informed there was an issue with compliance and the bridge deteriorated quickly.
The list of repairs need include:11 new steel piles, replace or repair 11 concrete girders, install pier bracing, replace all timber caps, replace split bracing and sheathing, partial depth repair on deck spalls, repair backwall, repair guardrails, repair erosion on south abutment head slope and around piers and other miscellaneous repairs.
The repairs will extend the bridge’s life by another 10 to 15 years, at which time a new bridge costing around $2 million will be necessary.
“Once the work is all done this will be next to a new bridge?” Coun. Clay Stump asked.
Mayor John Whaley inquired whether benching the $2 million over 20 years for a new bridge was a better course of action.
“Timing is quite imperative,” said Coun. Audrey Kelto. She explained there are farmers in the area who need a usable bridge. Currently they are having to take a long detour through Thorsby and are slowing traffic on Highway 39 with farm equipment.
The bridge repair funds were approved 5-1. Stump was against the motion and wanted the new bridge for $2 million.