POLITICS

Report says new bridge not needed for Prince Albert; Diefenbaker Bridge OK

01/10/2013 01:54 EST | Updated 03/12/2013 05:12 EDT
PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. - A provincial report says the Prince Albert area in Saskatchewan will not need a second bridge in the short term or immediate future.

Highways Minister Don McMorris says the report found that the existing Diefenbaker Bridge hasn't reached its traffic volume capacity and won't likely reach capacity for up to 30 years.

The report also says the lack of existing and unforeseen congestion on the bridge suggests a second span would have a minor impact, if any, on freight movement or traffic delays.

Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne says he's not surprised by the finding.

He says there's no political benefit for the Saskatchewan Party government to build the bridge.

The Diefenbaker Bridge is currently the only bridge crossing of the North Saskatchewan River for more than 120 kilometres in either direction.

In September 2011, the bridge had a major failure when one of its girders fractured.

Repairs were done which officials have said should allow the bridge to be in service for primary weight trucks for another 25 years.

Dionne said that the next step will be for council to rethink how it should approach getting a second bridge built.

He will compare this study to the one conducted in 2008 to see the differences between the two.

One major concern Dionne had was the amount of hazardous materials being transported across the Diefenbaker Bridge and through the heart of Prince Albert.

He said the government failed to research the amount of materials that are transported and how that could have a negative impact on the city.

"I don't think the government knows to date what dangerous goods go across that bridge," said Dionne.

"At the end of the day I believe the only way that bridge is going to get built is political will."

(CJME)