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Over 100 rural Saskatchewan bridges being replaced over the next 4 years

The president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities says replacing bridges will help address infrastructure challenges. Dave Parsons / Global News

The Saskatchewan government says a partnership between three levels of government will see over 100 rural bridges in the province replaced over the next four years.

Many rural municipality roads connect to the provincial or national highway system and weight-restricted bridges create gaps and inefficiencies in the transportation network, according to the province.

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The president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) says replacing bridges will help address the infrastructure gap in the transportation chain.

“There are about 1,475 bridges in rural Saskatchewan and many were built in the 60s and 70s and are at a point where the bridge needs to be replaced,” SARM president Ray Orb said Thursday in a statement.

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“This funding announcement will go toward addressing the current infrastructure challenge.”

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Greg Ottenbreit, Saskatchewan’s highway’s and infrastructure minister, said the investment will improve safety and help grow the province’s economy.

“The food, fuel, fertilizer and manufactured goods that our province exports often begin their path to market on a municipal road,” Ottenbreit said.

“So we are happy to upgrade 100 rural bridges to ensure we can reliably get our goods to market.”

Projects totalling up to $500,000 will be cost-shared.

The federal government will cover about 17 per cent of the cost, with the province contributing 33 per cent. The remainder of the amount is to be funded by the rural municipalities.

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Officials said $31.5 million in federal and provincial funding will be directed to rural bridge improvements over the next four years.

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The province said a number of rural bridge projects have been submitted for approval so construction can start this year.