Despite a request from the provincial Ministry of Highways, the Buckland Bridge will remain closed.
The RM of Buckland considered the request during council’s regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 11.
“The Ministry of Highways wondered if we could open up the bridge to single lane traffic and so our thoughts to them were well who is going to take responsibility for it and how do you open it to one lane of traffic and monitor it,” Reeve Don Fyrk explained.
Fyrk explained that the decision to close it was because of the safety issue and the decision would not change.
“And the thing is that we closed it because an engineer’s report said it was unsafe so that is why we closed it. We have no intentions of opening it again even to single lane traffic,” he added.
The bridge was closed beginning Nov. 2 and is closed to all traffic.
Alternate routes are on McLeod Road and Greig Road.
Due to the questionable condition of the bridge and in the interest of public safety, council made the decision to close the bridge to traffic until the road lift and bridge replacement is complete.
According to administrator Cori Sarginson during council’s August meeting, they have received their funding from the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program (MEEP) which was for $485,083 and was approved by the provincial government in July. They are awaiting approval so they can tender out bridge design, which would be completed by the engineering firm.
The bridge was damaged last spring due to ice buildup.
The goal is to have the bridge project completed and open at the conclusion of the next construction season.
Council also discussed another matter involving the Ministry of Highways.
“We tried to get them to put up some city lights like Red, Green and Yellow where that accident happened on the Shellbrook highway. They are not interested in that,” Fyrk explained.
Fyrk clarified that the decision comes down to the provincial Ministry.
During the meeting the council also renewed the retainer with Buckland Fire and Rescue until 2022. They also discussed the Prince Albert and District Planning Commission budget for 2021 and delivery of a new grader which they recently purchased.
“It was a short meeting, we didn’t have any delegations or anything. It was just a lot of housecleaning,” Fyrk explained.
According to Fyrk it was a typical meeting for the beginning of a new year.
“Just to get everybody on the same track and a few things came up when we were doing our budgets just opening discussion on it, Just what we actually need and what we can do without just your basics,” he said.
At this point they continued challenges arising from COVID-19.
“It is going to be a tough year again,” Fyrk said.