Fort Saskatchewan city council is waiting for more information before making a decision about a proposed new access route to the Clover Park neighbourhood.
 
City staff asked council on Tuesday (Jul.10) to set aside $415,000 from the 2018 capital budget to pay for construction of a replacement bridge over Ross Creek at 109 Street. The new bridge will be meant mainly for pedestrian use but will also give vehicle traffic another way in and out of the Clover Park neighbourhood in an emergency. The closure of an existing bridge several years ago means access to the area currently fails to meet city standards.
 
"The bridge was taken out of service when we built a new road to service the light industrial park,” councillor Gordon Harris explained. “Administration has been working to look at potentially replacing the bridge that was there, built in 1965.”
 
According to engineering reports, the existing bridge is not suitable for vehicle traffic without major upgrades. City staff said that with funding approval, construction of the new crossing could begin within a few months, earlier than originally expected.

"We've completed the design and we feel that we're ready. We have the tender documents complete. We can get construction completed in the fall, which is a good time to complete it," city engineering coordinator Joey Farebrother told council.

The rebuilt one-lane bridge will be 12 metres long and five metres wide and be open to vehicles only during emergencies. Including the already completed design phase, the total estimated cost of the project is $465,000
 
Harris questioned the need to go ahead with the funding, saying that he wanted more details about the condition of the closed bridge.
 
"I got the engineering analysis. I looked at it. I think that bridge is fine for the foreseeable future,” he said. “But I'm not an engineer. From what I read, it looked like it would be fine for pedestrian access and for the odd emergency access across there if and as required."
 
Councillor Deanna Lennox also wondered about the timing of the proposed construction start.
 
"Other than the fact that the reports are ready and that just seems to be a good time, there's no other real reason? There is no other pressing reason to have this completed in the fall?" she asked.
 
Harris wants to wait for confirmation from an engineering standpoint that the bridge needs to be replaced. Council unanimously agreed to his suggestion to delay the bridge decision until a late August council meeting, when more information about the project should be available.

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