Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond has announced that a $40-million contract has been awarded to Flatiron Constructors Canada Ltd to replace the existing two-lane Donald Bridge with a new four-lane bridge over the Columbia River and build a new four-lane crossing over the Canadian Pacific Railway.
The existing 50-year-old structures, it said in a recent Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure press release, are nearing the end of their life expectancies.
“The Trans-Canada Highway is a major trade corridor between B.C. and the rest of Canada,” said Bond. “This summer, I met with the mayors of Golden and Revelstoke to discuss improving the safety, reliability and travel times on Highway 1. Replacing the Donald Bridge with a new four- lane structure is part of our commitment to improving safety on this important corridor.”
The Donald Bridge carries an annual average of 4,800 vehicles a day, with an average of 15,000 vehicles a day on long weekends. Over 1,200 trucks – about one per minute – cross the bridge every day carrying goods between B.C. and Alberta.
Norm Macdonald, Columbia-River Revelstoke MLA, is very happy with the announcement, saying the upgrades are “desperately needed and very much appreciated.”
“I am very, very pleased. The highway upgrades will not only improve the Trans-Canada highway, but provide employment and economic activity which have been needed with the downturn in the forestry sector,” said Macdonald.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure expects the project will create over 250 direct jobs.
Macdonald believes that the highway from the Alberta border to Kamloops needs to “get up to standard”.
Golden Mayor Christina Benty was also glad to hear the news.
“As a community, we are very pleased to see the Province continuing to undertake significant highway upgrades in our area, including the Donald Bridge,” said Mayor Benty, explaining that these projects enhance safety and dependability for local residents and travellers.
Work will begin this week and finish in December 2012. Funding for the new bridges is being cost-shared between the provincial and federal governments.