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New bridge on Highway 1 west of Portage la Prairie in the works

A truck drives under the Highway 1 overpass west of Portage la Prairie that will eventually be replaced.
A truck drives under the Highway 1 overpass west of Portage la Prairie that will eventually be replaced. Diana Foxall/Global News

The overpass just west of Portage la Prairie on Highway 1 won’t be there for much longer.

Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced Thursday the province won’t be fixing the bridge that leads eastbound drivers into Portage la Prairie.

He said they’re beginning to plan for a new bridge, since the current structure is in poor shape.

Over the past decade, numerous truck drivers with over-sized loads have smacked into the bridge after they ignored the route prescribed for trucks too tall to sneak under the overpass.

READ MORE: Overpass into Portage la Prairie closed to traffic, future unknown

Minister Schuler said the most recent incident last November got the ball rolling to replace the bridge.

“What we wanted to be very clear on is that we are not going to renovate this bridge, we are not going to repair this bridge,” he said. “It’s going to come down and we’re going to built a new structure.”

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“It’ll be safer, it’ll be up to modern code, and more importantly, it’ll also be raised, because there are a lot of loads that cannot go under that bridge.”

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The existing bridge was built 50 years ago.

Minister Schuler said the problem tends to be out of province truckers who aren’t familiar with the area or the routes for over-sized vehicles.

“It needs at least a 4′ raise, which is significant. This bridge, we couldn’t even conceivably remodel it or repair it to get to that standard,” he told reporters in Portage la Prairie.

Schuler said given the early stage in the planning process, there isn’t a timeline yet for the bridge’s construction, nor is there a set budget.

The minister indicated he’ll be shopping around for the contractor to make sure Manitobans get the best bang for their buck on the project.