New Buckland Bridge officially opened last week

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The new metal Buckland Bridge officially opened to traffic last week.

After being closed since October of 2020, the new Buckland Bridge officially opened to traffic last week. The RM of Buckland announced the opening last week and Reeve Don Fyrk is happy to see the replacement of the wooden bridge with a modern metal bridge.

“Oh my God it’s been a long time coming. But it’s done, looking good, I tell you they did a fantastic job on it,” he said.

“What the holdup on the whole project was there was some government funding that we had to get. But I mean, that’s just typical,” Fyrk said.

He said that the new bridge looked great after he went and checked on it last week.

The project replaced the existing timber bridge with a new precast concrete and steel bridge

The bridge was funded by multiple layers of government.

The federal government added funding through the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure Stream (RNIS) of the Investing in Canada program with the RM receiving $500,000. Another $433,000 came from gas tax funding.

Nearly $485,000 was covered by the province, under the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program (MEEP). The remainder was funded by the RM of Buckland.

The bridge was closed to all traffic beginning Nov. 2. 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 was complete.

The RM denied a request by the Ministry of Highways to open the bridge in January because of traffic concerns.

Fyrk was impressed by the time it took to complete the project.

“They had that done in a record amount of time. They would have had it done sooner but there was a holdup for the base, they are special made so it took a while to get them made. So once they got them then they just went together like a perfect jigsaw puzzle,” Fyrk said.

Fyrk was happy to have the new bridge open as it improves safety on Buckland Road.

“I’m just so pleased and it makes me feel better because everybody is going to be so much safer out there. I don’t think people realize how bad that bridge was. A lot of armchair engineers but nobody really understood the consequences of it,” he explained.

“So now we have got a nice new bridge out there and everyone is safe and life carries on,” Fyrk said.