Council asks for cheaper solutions

The Lions Gate Bridge, which crosses Little Red River near the Cosmo Lodge, is just one of six bridges up for replacement. Council is also considering plans to rebuild two more that have already been demolished. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Prince Albert city council is looking for cheaper alternatives as the city prepares to replace or rebuild eight pedestrian bridges.

Council gave tentative approval on Oct. 22 to the construction of the first bridge on the city’s to do list at a cost of $200,000. However, council opted to send the remaining seven bridge projects back to administration for further review.

Mayor Greg Dionne said there’s no doubt the projects are a priority, but the price tag was just too high.

“We really think there’s a cheaper way to do it,” Dionne said. “If you look at it, they say $200,000 (for the first) bridge. I made a suggestion last time that in some of those areas, why don’t we put culverts and a roadway across and save the cost?”

The first bridge project still requires formal approval at the upcoming 2019 budget meetings. If approved, it will replace the old Sliding Hill Bridge at Little Red River Park, which was demolished following heavy flooding in 2013.

At a cost of only $200,000, it’s the cheapest of the eight bridge projects up for consideration. Replacement of the Lions Gate Bridge at Little Red would also cost $200,000.

The most expensive bridge would have been Swinging Bridge at Little Red River Park, at a cost of roughly $330,000.

Instead of bridges, Dionne wants the city to install culverts with dirt walking paths over top. City administrators told council at a previous meeting that such a plan would work, as long as the city can tolerate reduced water flow, which could be a problem during a severe storm.

“We need the one for the Sliding (Hill) at Little Red and we have some people who will help us with this one, but for the rest of them, we have lots of time,” he explained. “We have a whole year. Let’s find better options than the way that we were doing it.”