Grey Highlands planning to replace four bridges in Kimberley

·2 min read

Grey Highlands council has given the thumbs up to continuing the design process to eventually replace four bridges in the Kimberley area.

At its meeting on May 3, council approved a staff report requesting permission to move forward to the 60 per cent design stage for the replacement of bridges E4, E5, E6 and E12 on sideroad 7A in Kimberley.

The replacement of the four bridges will be expensive for the municipality. The current estimate for the work at the 30 per cent design stage is $3.9 million. Grey Highlands will be applying to Infrastructure Canada to receive 40 per cent funding for the work through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.

“This has been on staff and council’s radar for 25 years. The infrastructure is to the point we can’t keep prolonging their replacement,” said Chris Cornfield, director of transportation and public spaces.

The four bridges are located close together on sideroad 7A over tributaries of the Beaver River. The structures are currently undersized and at risk if a major flood event occurs.

The federal Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund is a billion-dollar program to help with current and future climate-related risks and disasters caused by natural hazards, including floods. Funding is available to 2032.

“They’re not getting any newer,” Mayor Paul McQueen said of the bridges, adding that it’s rare that local municipalities have a chance to receive funding for such projects. “Forty per cent, it is a big number. We don’t see 40 per cent funding anymore.”

Project engineer Matt Brooks told council the plan would see bridges E4 and E12 upsized to larger structures, while bridges E5 and E6 would be made into smaller precast culverts. Brooks also noted that a bridge in poor condition would receive a rating of 40 on the municipality’s rating scale - bridge E4 is currently at 39, while the other three structures are in the low 50s and 60s.

Grey Highlands has set aside more than $171,000 for the design work needed for the project. Just over $60,000 has been spent to date.

Coun. Joel Loughead noted that sideroad 7A is a deadend and he asked staff how traffic would be handled during the work.

Cornfield said the municipality would have to consider making an agreement with the adjacent landowners to use Talisman Mountain Road as an alternate route, but he said those details would be handled later.

“We’re a little ways from that, it would be part of our plan,” said Cornfield.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,