June 12th, 2024

Mayor to ask support for seeking funding for a third bridge study

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on February 21, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge city council today will consider an official business motion from mayor Blaine Hyggen calling on council to authorize him to seek provincial and federal funding for a study into a third river crossing.
That crossing is specifically for the Chinook Trail river crossing.
A report presented to council on October 11 of last year by transportation engineer Adam St. Amant, said the Chinook Trail option remains better than one suggested for Popson Park.
The Chinook Trail option, said the report, “continues to provide logical active transportation options in addition to a motor vehicle crossing.”
It added the Chinook Trail alignment “provides an improved connection between residential areas in southwest Lethbridge and commercial areas in southeast Lethbridge.”
This option is the least costly of those requiring a bridge, stated the report, adding there are minimal risks with the Chinook Trail consideration because numerous plans have already been created and implemented considering that alignment.
A Popson Park location would present challenges including potential opposition from stakeholders in the observatory which requires dark skies. Routes except for Chinook Trail could also have the bridge being built in Lethbridge County which would have annexation implications.
That report concluded preliminary traffic volumes suggest a third crossing may be needed sometime between the years 2030-40.
The mayor’s motion states that council approved funding in principle as part of the 2022-31 Capital Improvement Plan for the preliminary design of the Chinook Trail crossing and if any funding for the project becomes available from the province or Ottawa, the City should be in a state of readiness to receive those monies.
In the 2021 civic election, 60.4 per cent of voters who responded to a non-binding question on the election ballot supported the idea that council should “approve plans to construct a third bridge prior to 2030 as a municipal capital project priority.”
Modelling done on crossing volumes shows for the year 2019 there were 79,457 two-way river crossings over Whoop-Up Drive and Highway 3 bridges daily.
By 2069, those totals are estimated to be at 178,545 daily. A Chinook Trail bridge would add 45,472 daily crossings, which combined with a new Highway 3 bypass, would result in a total of 188,586 daily crossings.

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