Fernie will soon have a covered bridge for cyclists and pedestrians.
The province provided a $71,000 Bike BC grant on July 30 to assist with construction of the Fairy Creek Bridge.
The 25-metre-long by two-metre-wide covered cyclist/pedestrian bridge will connect downtown Fernie to five residential and commercial neighbourhoods, said a government press release dated July 30.
Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett said the Highway 3 bridge over Fairy Creek is busy and not safe for hikers or bikers.
“And especially not for school children who have to walk and cycle on this busy highway,” he said. “This grant will not only strengthen the tourism infrastructure for Fernie – the new bridge will keep people safe.”
Bike BC is the provincial government’s cost-sharing program that helps local governments build cycling projects that attract and support commuter, recreational and tourism cyclists and pedestrians. This grant will provide half of the projects cost of $142,000.
Fernie mayor Mary Giuliano said constructing the new bridge will address a long-standing safety concern by allowing cyclists to access a popular trailhead without having to compete with traffic on the busy highway.
“The City of Fernie is very grateful to Minister Bennett and the provincial government for this grant that will assist in making the Fairy Creek Bicycle Bridge a reality.”
Fernie Trails Alliance president Terry Nelson said considering the Fernie area is seeing a growth in both residential and recreational participation, the need for this bridge has become more of a necessity.
“A bridge has been contemplated at this location for more than 20 years, and the Fernie Trails Alliance thanks the B.C. government for its support in our efforts to make Fernie a more healthy and vibrant community.”
This project is part of B.C. on the Move, the province’s 10-year transportation plan, and has committed $18 million over the next three years to the Bike BC program. This year’s investment of $ 6 million will generate more than $12 million in cycling infrastructure across the province, said the press release.
For more information about Bike BC, visit th.gov.bc.ca/BikeBC