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ACR / CPR Mintlaw Bridge

 
Forth Junction Project Vision Sharing Historical Perspective Ground Transportation
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Rotting bridge will undergo $350,000 repair
Bridging gap between history and disrepair

 
reprinted from Red Deer Advocate (Paul Cowley) November 10, 2010

Red Deer County moves to repair historic train trestle with $350,000;
Bridge could eventually be part of trail network

 
Mintlaw Bridge - Fiedler photo



Sam, left, and Bear, dogs owned by a neighbouring acreage owner, play in the Red Deer River beneath the Mintlaw Bridge's west side Tuesday.

Photo by Randy Fiedler, Red Deer Advocate





 

A rotting historic bridge in Red Deer County will get a repair job.

County council unanimously approved spending up to $350,000 on the 98-year-old Mintlaw Bridge, a former Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. span across the Red Deer River, about eight km southwest of the City of Red Deer.

Evan Bedford, the county's engineering co-ordinator, said on Tuesday that the east and west approach piers on the bridge are rotting away. Engineers estimate the west girder sections of the bridge have sunk about 60 cm. There is a concern that if the sag continues, enough pressure could be put on the structure to make the bridge a writeoff.

Even a heavy snow load could cause the bridge to move further out of alignment.

Engineers are recommending that the wooden pier that is slowly collapsing be replaced with a steel version. The work would be done this winter when access routes are frozen, Bedford said.

The east end of the bridge is not as badly damaged and could be repaired at a later date.

The cost of fixing the bridge was estimated at $250,000 for the actual repairs and $62,000 for engineering work. To allow for additional costs, staff recommended $350,000 be allocated from the county's contingency budget.

The county bought the bridge from CPR in December 2009 for $1 and assumed responsibility for it.

Councillor George Gehrke has recently checked out the bridge and was amazed at how much has crumbled away.

"It's very sad to think we could possibly lose this," he said. Maintaining the bridge would preserve a historical resource and allow it to be connected to a trail system later.

The cost of updating the bridge enough to allow cyclists and pedestrians to use it safely is estimated at $2.1 million. That would provide a new deck, railings, pier repairs and new spans at each end to reconnect the bridge to the banks on either side. No decision has been made on that work.

Forth Junction Heritage Society president Paul Pettypiece attended the council meeting and came away pleased.

"Of course, I'm thrilled. Anything that helps preserve that bridge is good by me."

It's not surprising that some upkeep is needed on the bridge, he said. "The last train was in 1981, which means there's been virtually no maintenance on that bridge since then."

The society is dedicated to preserving Central Alberta's rail and transportation heritage. The group has proposed a children's theme park and transportation (museum) in Red Deer's Riverlands area. It (is) also looking at creating another attraction somewhere in the county featuring replicas of historic rail stations and a railway park, among other features.


News articles related to ACR/CPR Mintlaw bridge:
       Commentary: Preservation Opportunity Not to be Lost
(Innisfail Province & Red Deer Advocate June 2015)
       News article: Red Deer County seeks partners to afford bridge access
(Mountain View Gazette Apr.2012)
       News article: County council looks at bridge as tourist attraction
(Red Deer Advocate April 2012)
       News article: Plans for Mintlaw Bridge waiting on public feedback
(Mountain View Gazette Feb.2012)
       News article: Opposition comes forward to Mintlaw Bridge preservation
(Mountain View Gazette May 2011)
       News article: Reinforcing our history
(Red Deer Advocate Mar.2011)
       News article: Repairs planned for crumbling CPR bridge
(Red Deer Advocate Feb.2011)
       News article: RD County antes up for Mintlaw Bridge repairs
(Mountain View Gazette Nov.2010)
       News article: County buys bridge for a buck
(Red Deer Advocate Dec.2009)
       News article: County buys historic railway bridge
(Red Deer Express Dec.2009)
       News article: Historic significance of concrete obelisk preserved in mural (Red Deer Advocate Oct.2008)


Alberta Central Railway (CPR) - Red Deer to Rocky Mountain House
ACR/CPR Mintlaw Steel Trestle
Railway Bridges of Central Alberta
Alberta's Largest Railway Bridges
Largest Railway Bridges of Western Canada

Rails to Trails
Forth/Tuttle-Mintlaw-Sylvan Lake Linear Park Proposal

Michael Dawe articles related to Alberta Central Railway / CPR ACR branch heritage
      
A look back at the Alberta Central Railway (Red Deer Express Sept.2014)
       Laurier's 1910 visit huge event for city (Red Deer Express August 2010)
       Mintlaw Bridge essential to region's railroad heritage (Red Deer Express March 2010)
       Sir Wilfrid Laurier visited Red Deer (Red Deer Advocate May 2010)
       The origins of Alberta Central Rail pillar (Red Deer Express April 2008)
       Alberta Central Railway helped open region (Red Deer Advocate Special March 2007)
       John T. Moore (Red Deer Express Feb.2003)


 

 News articles about the Forth Junction Heritage Society:
World-class destination centre still in the works 11/13       Praise today's big dream 01/12       Forth Junction targets county 12/11 
Forth Junction pulling toward a new station
12/11        A volunteer on the right track 12/10        Tourism board supports rail project 10/10
Forth Junction rail project seeking charitable status
10/10        Rail tourist attraction idea gets rolling 07/10        Railway heritage 06/10
New idea for Riverlands worth an Olympic cheer 02/10       Happy to hear more talk on large-scale attractions 02/10
One-time opportunity 02/10       Tourism proposal facing obstacles 02/10       World-class attraction proposed for Riverlands 02/10
   

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