Alberta provincial government commits to funding Highway 3 bridge upgrade

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Alberta government commits to funding Highway 3 bridge upgrade
WATCH ABOVE: Highway 3 is a key Alberta transport corridor, not only for local residents, but also for commercial vehicles. On Friday, the provincial government announced an upgrade to the Oldman River Bridge. Demi Knight reports – Mar 15, 2019

Lethbridge will soon see $100M in provincial funding for an upgraded bridge over the Old Man River on Highway 3, expanding the roadway from three lanes to six.

“With almost half of the population of the city of Lethbridge living on the west side of the river, having an alternate route that is viable and safe is important to the city,” said Mayor Chris Spearman during the announcement on Friday.

Alberta’s Minister of Transportation Brian Mason said the funding for the project is set to come from the Government of Alberta’s capital plan

“In the ring road projects in Calgary alone, we have been able to save probably a billion dollars over what was budgeted,” Mason said, “so we are re-allocating that money to other badly needed projects and this is one of them.”

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WATCH: Multiple crashes block Highway 3 bridge deck in Lethbridge

Click to play video: 'Multiple crashes block Highway 3 bridge deck in Lethbridge'
Multiple crashes block Highway 3 bridge deck in Lethbridge

The eastbound bridge was first built as a two-lane highway in 1947, and sees nearly 34,000 vehicles travelling across it each day. With minimal upgrades over the years, officials said this project is needed to increase safety and traffic flow in the area.

During the announcement on Friday, officials also shared that the project could help generate more than 500 jobs in the area at the time of construction.

“It will create good jobs here in Lethbridge,” said Shannon Phillips, MLA for Lethbridge-West.

“There will be an estimated 308 direct jobs and 221 indirect jobs generated during the construction of this bridge.”

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Although many residents may be excited for the upgrades, Spearman says the city hasn’t forgot about the possibility of a third bridge.

“City council has placed looking at the [feasibility] of a third bridge in our future planning, so in 2024 or 2025,” Spearman said.

The project is currently still in the conceptual phase, with construction of the new bridge set to start in 2022.

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