Work on the brand new Little Sand Creek Bridge in Jaffray is almost done. The 20 metre long replacement bridge is expected to be complete and ready for traffic by late summer or early fall.
Located on Highway 3, the original bridge has been removed to make way for a new three-lane structure with a sidewalk for safer pedestrian and cyclist traffic. It will also allow for a left turn lane.
“It’s a really good project for the community here,” commented Transportation Minister Todd Stone. “It’s much safer for pedestrian crossing, it’s long overdue and has been well received in the community.”
Stone paid a visit to the bridge Wednesday as part of his tour of the Kootenay area. Stone was in Cranbrook earlier in the day and after his stop in Jaffray was set to meet with representatives from Fernie, Elkford and Sparwood, before moving on to Invermere.
“It’s important to get out as often as you can into regions and actually meet the people that do the hard work and take a look at the projects that are either just completed or are nearing completion,” said Stone. “It’s important to talk to the locals about what the next set of priorities should be.”
He went on to say, “We made a commitment to a 10-year transportation plan, a new vision for the next 10 years, so part of what I’m doing on this tour is really assessing the priorities in the East Kootenays.”
The new plan will be released before Christmas of this year and will serve as a road map for investments in highways, transit, ferries, airports and ports across B.C.
Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett joined Stone at the construction site in Jaffray and is pleased to see the work is nearing completion. As the second busiest highway in the province, Bennett believes keeping Highway 3’s bridges up to date is essential.
“There’s a lot of heavy traffic going down into the States, the Kingsgate [border] crossing is the second busiest crossing in British Columbia,” remarked Bennett. “If we’ve got the bridges and the highways that will stand the loads of the size of trucks that want to use it, we’ll have more economic activity happening.”
He said the new bridge will also benefit Cranbrook companies that can’t get their mining equipment out to the Elk Valley because of the current state of the highway.
“This [bridge] was a problem for the 85 ton situation, so replacing it and putting a new bridge in ensures that we can haul the big equipment from the mine sites over here to Cranbrook if that’s necessary, and get the work done here as opposed to going to Alberta,” explained Bennett. “That’s a big advantage; plus it’s safer.”
The completion date for the Little Sand Creek Bridge replacement project is tentatively set for August 27.