PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says if the City of Prince Albert will consider a P3 project for a new bridge, the province will make the same commitment it recently made for Saskatoon.
Wall made the pledge in a letter sent Monday to Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne.
Currently, the only way for vehicles to get across the North Saskatchewan River is on the Diefenbaker Bridge, which connects Highways 2 and 3 and is a vital link to the north.
The southbound lanes on the bridge were closed in August 2011 after a crack was discovered in one of the support girders. Those lanes reopened with weight restrictions in December 2011 after the cracked section of the bridge was removed and replaced.
The topic of a second bridge for the Prince Albert area has been discussed for several years, with councillors in the northern Saskatchewan city raising the issue with the provincial government at SUMA bear-pit session in February 2013.
At the time, then Highways and Infrastructure Minister Don McMorris said the current bridge was in good shape and would be able to handle traffic for many more years.
In 2012, Wall noted the need for a new bridge in Prince Albert in the document “Saskatchewan Plan for Growth: Vision 2020 and Beyond.”
In today’s letter, Wall noted the issue of a new bridge has been “raised with me often by Prince Albert residents and by our Saskatchewan Party MLAs who represent Prince Albert and the surrounding area.”
Local MP Randy Hoback has asked for municipalities in the region along with the province to come up with a bridge proposal for the federal government to consider.
“Based on Mr. Hoback’s comments and recent precedent, I am confident that if the City of Prince Albert came forward with an application to the P3 Canada Fund, it would receive serious consideration,” wrote Wall.
The province announced in June it would provide $50 million for a new north commuter bridge in Saskatoon after the federal government committed up to $66 million for the project under the P3 Canada Fund.
There is no word yet from Dionne on whether Prince Albert will make a P3 application.