By Treena Mielke
Agriculture in Ponoka County will move at a little faster rate thanks to a new portable bridge installed southwest of the Keyera gas plant.
The bridge, installed about three weeks ago, replaces the original bridge that was deemed safe to support weights of up to only five tonnes.
Bridge inspector Blaine Rose said the bridge on Range Road 20 across the Lloyd Creek, which runs into the Blindman River, will hold up to around 100 tonnes.
“They are built to hold very heavy loads,” he said.
Rose said the county purchased the approximately $100,000 bridge and it will stay in place until a permanent one is constructed at the site.
“A lot of bridges were put in in the ’50s and ’60s and these temporary ones can be used until permits are in place for new ones to be put in. It may take a year or better.”
Coun. Paul McLauchlin said the 16–foot wide bridge means farmers can use the road instead of having to travel on Highway 53.
McLauchlin said the county had originally looked at renting a temporary bridge, but decided purchasing one that could be used in other emergency situations was the best way to go.
Coun. George Verheire said a temporary bridge was installed in his area about four years ago. The Tomkins Bridge was put in six miles south of Secondary Highway 611 and two miles east of Secondary Highway 792.
“It is temporary and we can yank it out at any time.”
Verheire said the province is slow in approving new bridges and the portable bridges are filling a need.
“We can put it (a portable bridge) in and take it out and put it somewhere else when we need to.”