Rotting bridge will undergo $350,000
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;
eventually be part of trail network
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.
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
Even a heavy snow load could cause the bridge to move further out of
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
(Red Deer Advocate Feb.2011)
News article: RD County antes up for Mintlaw
(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)
article: Historic significance of concrete obelisk preserved in
mural (Red Deer Advocate Oct.2008)
Alberta Central Railway (CPR)
- Red Deer to Rocky
ACR/CPR Mintlaw Steel Trestle
Railway Bridges of Central Alberta
Alberta's Largest Railway Bridges
Largest Railway Bridges of Western Canada
Rails to Trails
Lake Linear Park Proposal
Michael Dawe articles related to Alberta Central
Railway / CPR ACR branch heritage
look back at the Alberta Central Railway
(Red Deer Express Sept.2014)
1910 visit huge event for city
(Red Deer Express August 2010)
Mintlaw Bridge essential to region's railroad
(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)