Plans are underway for the bridge between Strathcona County and Edmonton.
The future bridge across the North Saskatchewan River continues to move forward with plans as phase two of the Northeast River Crossing Functional Planning Study released multiple location options.
“Phase two has developed six feasible options that we're seeking input on. The final preferred option could be one of these, a combination of them or something slightly different depending on the feedback and additional studies being completed,” said Grant Schaffer Fort Saskatchewan’s project manager director.
Roughly 140 people attended the phase two public meetings held in Sherwood Park and Edmonton.
Schaffer pointed out this is the bridge being built 25-35 years from now, it’s not to be confused with the twinning of the bridge through Fort Saskatchewan.
The bridge will link Highways 15 and 21 and offer easier access to Highway 63 heading north.
“It’s looking to the future but it’s important to make sure that when it’s needed, the land is set aside so it can be built. An example of that is the Anthony Henday, planning for that started 50 years ago,” stated Schaffer.
Doug Visser, a land owner in Strathcona County expressed he was first hesitant about the project, but after attending the phase two public meeting in Sherwood Park, was pleased with the progress.
“We’ve been concerned about this roadway even though it’s not going to be happening for quite awhile from now, that it would impact the community and agricultural land and some of the natural areas in the river valley,” said Visser.
Allan Bolstad helped establish the Edmonton Area Land Trust to try and conserve some of the land that would be affected by the project.
“Some of the natural areas in the river valley as well as the prime agricultural land that is really special and irreplaceable in this area so it looks like there has been some attention paid to that and its really encouraging to see because you don’t, as a rule see that happen in Alberta, so this is a nice change,” noted Bolstad.
In 2011, the Capital Region Board identified the need for this bridge.
“It will certainly relieve more congestion and traffic and weather it will be built 25 years from now, I think it will be needed sooner than that, even with the new plans for the bridge across Fort Saskatchewan,” said Evelyn Osbaldeston, Strathcona County resident.
Phase one of the open houses took place last spring, with phase three expected in the spring of 2018.