Thursday , 17 June 2021
The Lessard Bridge is anticipated to open next Friday. Image credit: M.D. of Bonnyville.

Lessard Bridge opening with only minor damage

After the M.D. of Bonnyville had a consultant inspect the damage, the Lessard Bridge has been cleared to reopen later this month with only minor work needed.

The bridge is projected to open July 24 provided the weather remains agreeable, and was closed in June after days of heavy rainfall in the Lakeland, which led to road closures and flooding in communities across the region, such as Elizabeth Metis Settlement and Lac La Biche.

The M.D. will handle repairs to the bridge in-house, and already posses much of the equipment necessary to make the necessary fixes with only a few basic supplies such as wood and nails needing to be purchased.

Costs are expected to remain low, and repairs should only take between three and four days.

The bridge has a history of closures, such as in 2018 when it closed due to damages to its pillars from ice flows, and again in March 2019 when it was closed due to spring runoff.

Beaver River, which Lessard Bridge stretches across, rose an estimated 2.5 meters according to Alberta Environment and Parks, and has only recently began returning to its natural depth.

Despite popular belief the issue with Lessard wasn’t so much to do with the bridge’s make, but instead the approach, which was beginning to erode and wash away due to the non-stop rain.

Efforts to curb the damage included dumping a load of 24 large rocks to help reinforce the soil, but an engineer listed the site to be closed due to safety concerns.

Lessard’s closure has spurred discussions on drainage infrastructure in the M.D. which Reeve Greg Sawchuk has called a long-standing issue, despite praising municipal workers efforts to combat water issues.

About Chris Lapointe

Chris is a two-time Vancouver Film School graduate, where he originally studied screenwriting and video games. Returning home to the lakeland post-graduation, he was determined to put what he learned to use. He brings with him a laid-back attitude and a love for pop culture that he hopes can be injected into Lakeland Connect's publications.