Lacombe County will be replacing a bridge directly south of Bentley.
Construction on the structure, Bridge 00627, is scheduled to begin on July 2nd. The replacement of the old bridge structure, located along RR 1-2, two miles north of the Aspelund Road, will take approximately three months to complete.
Lacombe County Operations Manager Phil Lodermeier said the bridge has been closed for over a year and funding is now in place for the removal and replacement.
“It was damaged structurally a year-and-a-half ago by a piece of farm equipment,” he said. “It hasn’t had traffic over it for the past year.”
A detour will not be in place, as residents in the area have already been using adjacent roads as routes to cross over the Blindman River.
Lodermeier said the RR 1-2 Bridge is one of five other bridge replacements slated by the County for 2015.
Lacombe County has a total of 151 bridges and bridge sized culverts under its jurisdiction, which are maintained and regularly inspected through the Bridge Management Plan.
“In 2013 council adopted the Bridge Management Plan to deal with the old and aging structures,” said Lodermeier.
The objective of the plan is to improve and maintain the aging bridge infrastructure, as well as to ensure that funding is available to maintain, repair or replace the structures.
The program is noted to be proactive, in order to deal in advance with the aging structures.
“It’s very aggressive,” said Lodermeier. “We try to address the issues in advance.”
Through the program, bridge maintenance is prioritized and based on a list of criteria like public safety, the general condition of the structure, traffic volumes and types of traffic, traffic patterns and alternate routes available, maintenance concerns and costs of construction.
In the 2015 Operating Budget, council allotted $144,000 for the 2015 Bridge Maintenance Program.
Consideration for maintenance for each structure is based first and foremost on safety of the public and motorists. Structures can be placed on a five-year replacement schedule and may be considered for maintenance if a hazardous situation occurs that requires immediate remediation.
“We try to do inspections once every three years, or once every year, depending on the age and condition of the bridge,” said Lodermeier.
Also included in the 2015 Bridge Maintenance Program was the repair of two bridges along the Alix North Road.
Council approved the tender for the repairs of bridge structures BF694 and BF2175 in February. A total of three bids were received, all which were over the estimated cost of $170,000.
Through regular inspections, problems were identified with the two bridges. Before the needed repairs could be made, the bridges were monitored or had imposed weight restrictions. The repairs were funded through the bridge reserve.