Watch the video above: New bridge plans in Saskatoon could displace residents
SASKATOON – An announcement Monday in Saskatoon will mean shorter commute times for motorists.
A new bridge will replace the Traffic Bridge and another will be built in the north end of the city.
Standing at Marquis Drive and Wanuskewin Road is the future connection point of the six-lane North Commuter Parkway Bridge. But just beyond the land on the other side of the river, is a home.
“We’ve been here just about two-and-a-half-years,” said David Nichols, the acreage’s owner.
With a beautiful prairie view, Nichols scenery from his front windows will soon change.
According to the city’s planning and development manager Alan Wallace it’s an ever increasing scenario, as the City of Saskatoon continues to expand out into the prairie.
“If there is an acreage development or some development that would prevent this corridor from happening, we have to talk to the land owner about securing their land,” said Wallace.
The North Commuter Parkway Bridge will link the west side of Saskatoon to the east, connecting to the University Heights sector plan.
The planning and development branch has already been in touch with area residents, notifying them of the planned bridge and giving them the heads up that they’re in a future development area.
Wallace says, as a general rule, those with farm land in the location aren’t as resistant as acreage owners.
“To have a city come along and say, you’re now part of the city, it’s probably met with more resistance,” said Wallace.
Nichols bought his property with intentions of building a shop. Shortly after, he says the city annexed the land from the R.M. of Corman Park and under city bylaws, he wasn’t able to build one.
Nichol’s is now planning to relocate to Ontario.
“I don’t know about the value of my land on which way it’s going to go,” said Nichols.
With his property situated in what will be a commercial district near the new bridge, those in real estate say Nichols could be sitting on a jackpot as a developer is likely to pay big for the land.
But there’s a flip side according to Jason Yochim, with Saskatoon region association of realtors.
“If they still want to live in the country, they have to replace that property and hope to get the same kind of setting that they have and not have to invest a lot more than what they came out with,” said Yochim.
Nichols is taking it all in stride.
“As far as the bridge, if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.”
The total cost of the bridges and connecting roadways is $252 million. The federal government is committing $66 million, the province is contributing $50 million and the city will pay for the remainder.
Residents anxiously await the completion which is slated for 2018.