RD County antes
Mintlaw Bridge repairs
reprinted from Mountain View
Gazette (Sylvia Cole) November 16, 2010
Red Deer County council approved spending $350,000 to rehabilitate
the west end of the Mintlaw Bridge after a report said the wooden
structure is slowly rotting and piers are beginning to collapse.
The county purchased the bridge from Canadian Pacific Railway for $1
last December. A bridge valuation report shows the girder on the
west has sunk two feet.
Engineers speculate if the girder falls any further it may put
enough pressure on the rest of the structure to make the entire
bridge a writeoff, engineering coordinator Evan Bedford reported to
council last Tuesday. He warned a heavy snowfall could be enough to
trigger the collapse.
"I was out on the weekend and it is quite amazing how much that has
crumpled away," Div. 6 Coun. George Gehrke said at the meeting.
"It's very sad to think we could possibly lose it because I think it
has a great benefit historically and everything else ... I think we
have to do our due diligence and retain what we have," Gehrke said.
Construction will begin in the winter when access routes are frozen
and workers will replace the wood pier with steel trusses. The wood
on the east end of the bridge is also rotting, but has only sunk a
couple of inches and Bedford said any rehabilitation can wait for
The money will come from the 2010 contingency budget for
rehabilitation work. An estimated $62,000 is needed for the
engineering and another $250,000 for the work.
"We're excited the county has agreed to pay for keeping the bridge
from collapsing, basically," said the president of Forth Junction
Historical Society, Paul Pettypiece, who attended council Tuesday.
He said the bridge, that spans the Red Deer River southwest of the
City of Red Deer, has the potential to become a major tourist
attraction if rehabilitated.
"The last train on there was around 1981 and there's been virtually
no maintenance since. Not only does the bridge have to get up to
standard, it has to be made safe for pedestrian and bicycle
traffic," he said.
More than $2 million is needed to bring the 98-year-old bridge to a
stage suitable for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. New decks,
railing and pier repair are needed before that would happen but no
decisions have been made for that yet.
more about the
Alberta Central Railway and
ACR Linear Park
Mintlaw Bridge essential to region's railroad
(Red Deer Express March 2010)