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RD County antes up for Mintlaw Bridge repairs
reprinted from Mountain View Gazette (Sylvia Cole) November 16, 2010

Red Deer County council approved spending $350,000 to rehabilitate the west end of the Mintlaw Bridge after a report said the wooden structure is slowly rotting and piers are beginning to collapse.

The county purchased the bridge from Canadian Pacific Railway for $1 last December. A bridge valuation report shows the girder on the west has sunk two feet.

Engineers speculate if the girder falls any further it may put enough pressure on the rest of the structure to make the entire bridge a writeoff, engineering coordinator Evan Bedford reported to council last Tuesday. He warned a heavy snowfall could be enough to trigger the collapse.

"I was out on the weekend and it is quite amazing how much that has crumpled away," Div. 6 Coun. George Gehrke said at the meeting. "It's very sad to think we could possibly lose it because I think it has a great benefit historically and everything else ... I think we have to do our due diligence and retain what we have," Gehrke said.

Construction will begin in the winter when access routes are frozen and workers will replace the wood pier with steel trusses. The wood on the east end of the bridge is also rotting, but has only sunk a couple of inches and Bedford said any rehabilitation can wait for another year.

The money will come from the 2010 contingency budget for rehabilitation work. An estimated $62,000 is needed for the engineering and another $250,000 for the work.

"We're excited the county has agreed to pay for keeping the bridge from collapsing, basically," said the president of Forth Junction Historical Society, Paul Pettypiece, who attended council Tuesday.

He said the bridge, that spans the Red Deer River southwest of the City of Red Deer, has the potential to become a major tourist attraction if rehabilitated.

"The last train on there was around 1981 and there's been virtually no maintenance since. Not only does the bridge have to get up to standard, it has to be made safe for pedestrian and bicycle traffic," he said.

More than $2 million is needed to bring the 98-year-old bridge to a stage suitable for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. New decks, railing and pier repair are needed before that would happen but no decisions have been made for that yet.

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: Bridging gap between history and disrepair
(Red Deer Advocate 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)


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