The Municipal District of Bonnyville is warning everyone to stay off of the Lessard Bridge. That includes vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
Located on Range Road 452, between Highway 55 and Township Road 624, the bridge has been closed to all traffic since high water levels and ice breakup damaged the bridge structure in the spring.
“It’s not safe to be on,” said M.D. Industry Liaison Denise Hourd. “Not for people walking, not for bicycles, not for cars.”
The bridge is currently only capable of holding its own weight. Any additional weight may cause even more damage. The bridge is supported by 12 pillars on either side. Of the six pillars on the west side of the bridge, four are no longer supporting the bridge deck.
“We understand people want to access the river to go tubing,” Hourd said. “However, people need to stay off of the bridge. Do not drive around the barriers. Do not move the barriers. Do not go on the bridge.”
If possible injury isn’t enough of a deterrent to stay off of the bridge, there is also a possibility of a fine and arrest. “It’s a $310 fine under the Traffic Safety Act for moving the road closed signs and barriers, and the individual can be arrested,” said Director of Public Safety Chris Garner. “It’s interfering with a traffic control device. Peace Officers will be patrolling the area to make sure the signs remain in place, and vehicles and people are not circumventing the road closure.”
The M.D. will be repairing the bridge. Currently the repair is going through the engineering process, while Alberta Environment conducts an aquatic study, as the river is a fish-bearing stream.
Hourd said the tender for repair will go out this fall, with repairs being undertaken this winter.
The bridge should be completed by the end of the year.
To report people moving the signs or being on the bridge, please call the Public Safety Department at 780-812-3332.