POLITICS

North commuter bridge won't be built by 2016, says Saskatoon mayor

11/27/2013 07:53 EST | Updated 01/27/2014 05:59 EST
SASKATOON - Saskatoon's mayor says a north commuter bridge will be built but not by 2016.

Don Atchison said despite missing the December intake for funding, he is still hopeful the province will help fund the commuter parkway project.

The city will be examining what it will do if the province refuses the funding request.

The city is asking the province and the federal government for the same amounts to fund the project, according to the City of Saskatoon.

On Sept. 23, the city wrote a letter to the CEO of SaskBuilds requesting funding and acknowledging there is no formal application process, and on Nov. 26, the mayor received a letter back from SaskBuilds acknowledging the request.

Don McMorris, minister responsible for SaskBuilds, said they have not turned down the city's request for funding, but added a bridge within city limits isn't something the province would traditionally fund.

"It may reduce the volume of traffic on the highways eventually but normally where we get involved through the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure is when it is going through a city and connects provincial highways such as the South Bridge would do," McMorris said.

"To say that a bridge within the city limits is not a priority for the ministry of highways, it isn't what we traditionally would fund. We haven't said no, we haven't gone through the budget process, but it isn't traditionally what we would fund when it connects two city streets."

However, documents from the City of Saskatoon indicate the province has helped fund every vehicular bridge ever built in the city. Those include the Traffic Bridge, University Bridge, Broadway Bridge, Sid Buckwold Bridge, Circle Drive North and Circle Drive South.

Atchison said the city has never been led to believe that the province would not fund the project.

"If they tell us we have to go in a different route we'll certainly attempt to have that done before March," Atchison said.

McMorris said that they would continue to look at the project and see how it progresses forward but for now they are focusing on a Perimeter Highway to alleviate traffic in Saskatoon.

(CKOM)