It’s a start

It probably goes without saying that folks in the provincial government have priorities that don’t have much to do with small-town newspaper deadlines.

But when you say something will be announced on a Thursday, and then wait around until the following Monday to actually do it….

That’s what happened with the announcement on funding for engineering for the Smith bridge replacement. The official acknowledgement finally arrived on Monday afternoon, on May 13. That was about seven hours too late to make it into that week’s edition of The Leader, which was on its way north from the printer just about that time.

Oh well. Better late than never, as they say.

The good news is the province managed to find $1.65 million for ‘engineering studies,’ in this year’s budget.

To put that in perspective, the firm looking into the project for the M.D. estimates the cost of a new bridge to range from “upwards of $45 million,” to $82 million. At the lower end of that range would be a one-lane bridge next to the present 78-year-old dinosaur. At the upper end, a two-lane bridge in a more stable spot, requiring some road re-routing.

Can the M.D. – and more to the point, the users of the bridge – live with a new bridge that’s only one lane wide? They might have to.

The road ahead is probably still quite long. There are a lot of busier highways and bridges in this province demanding attention. But it’s a start.

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