New Peace River bridge opens to traffic

The new Peace River bridge opened to traffic for the first time Nov. 8. The bridge and roadwork cost $162 million to build. The old bridge will now be upgraded with much-needed repairs.

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

The new Peace River bridge opened to traffic for the first time at 1 p.m. on Nov. 8.

While there was no official opening ceremony, residents expressed excitement online that they would finally be able to drive across the river on the new bridge.

The three-lane bridge was approved by the former NDP government including previous Peace River MLA Debbie Jabbour. Construction started in 2017.

“The Peace River bridge project, started three years ago, was completed on time and on budget,” says current Peace River MLA Dan Williams.

“The twinning links our schools, hospital and services with our businesses on both sides of the mighty Peace River and is important not only for our community, but for the entire region.”

“We want a safer and stronger northwest Alberta and this new crossing provides just that,” says Transportation Minister Ric McIver.

“Twinning the Peace River bridge makes it safer and easier for Albertans to access business and services on both sides of the river. Building this bridge has created hundreds of jobs when Albertans have needed them most.”

The project created about 400 jobs, although it’s unclear exactly how many of those jobs went to local workers.

The bridge has three lanes and includes a pedestrian walkway underneath. The $162 million twinning project also included interchange improvements on both sides of the bridge.

Now that the new bridge has opened to traffic, the older bridge can be upgraded with much needed deck repairs, eventually allowing one bridge to accommodate east bound traffic and one bridge westbound traffic. The upgrades were announced as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan and work will begin early next year with a completion date in fall 2022.

“This bridge is and has been a great addition to our community,” says Peace River Mayor Tom Tarpey, who has been a strong advocate for the project.

“Throughout construction it has bolstered the local economy.

“Peace River is the gateway to northwestern Alberta and the Northwest Territories. This second bridge is going to expand that economic portal. Infrastructure catalyzes development. Roads and bridges are the pipelines for Alberta’s most precious resource – its people.”

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