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Blindman River Bridge is unveiled

Treena Mielke PhotoPhil Lodermeier, Manager of Operations for Lacombe County stands on the Blindman River Bridge following the grand opening held Sat., June 5. The approximate $300,000 bridge is a key link of the TransCanada Trail, a national trail system that links communities from coast to coast.

Treena Mielke PhotoPhil Lodermeier, Manager of Operations for Lacombe County stands on the Blindman River Bridge following the grand opening held Sat., June 5. The approximate $300,000 bridge is a key link of the TransCanada Trail, a national trail system that links communities from coast to coast.

Treena Mielke

For the Globe

The grand opening of the Blindman River Bridge held last Saturday marked the successful completion of a long-term project which will serve as a key link of the TransCanada Trail, that links communities from coast to coast.

The event, held at the new bridge, located about 1.8 km south of Hwy. 597 on Range Road 27-3, attracted dignitaries from federal, provincial and municipal levels of government as well as the public and representatives from other groups and organizations.

Master of ceremonies for the event and president of the Central Alberta Regional Trails Society, Debbie Olsen said CARTS' dream to connect the communities of central Alberta using trails expanded to include the vision of not only connecting these communities to each other, but connecting them to the rest of Canada via the Trans Canada Trail.

"But one of the biggest challenges of building this trail was getting across the Blindman River. As a key part of the central Alberta trails system, this bridge took years of planning and coordination from all of the municipalities in central Alberta. We also received funding and support from several levels of government and provincial and national organizations. To be honest, some of us wondered if it would ever be built, but here we are."

Lacombe County Coun. Linda Landmark who also spoke at the opening, said the bridge marked a new chapter in the county's history book and would be noticed by future generations.

"Someday, someone's going to say, 'wow, who had the vision to put this all together.'"

The original plan for the approximately $300,000 bridge, began in 2006.

Construction was completed in April.

Several organizations including Lacombe County, The National Trails Coalition, the TransCanada Trail Foundation, Alberta Trailnet and the communities involved in CARTS (Red Deer and Lacombe counties, Penhold, Springbrook, City of Red Deer, Lacombe, Blackfalds, Sylvan Lake and Ponoka) all played a role in the project.

Project planning was completed by Armstrong Consulting Services, bridge design was done by Sveinson Consulting Engineers Ltd. and Timcon Construction (1988) Ltd were responsible for the bridge fabrication and installation.

The bridge deck and handrails were installed by the 41 Combat Engineer Regiment (33rd Engineer Squadron from Calgary and the 25th Engineer Squadron from Edmonton.



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