Engineering and public consultations on replacing the Taylor Bridge will soon begin, the provincial government said Thursday.
“People expect a safe and reliable highway network and those who live and work in Taylor, Fort St. John or anywhere in the north Peace demand no less,” Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said in a news release.
“We are actively working on a long-term plan for the Taylor Bridge. We are undertaking engineering work to make sure there’s a crossing there that will serve the region for decades to come.”
Ministry officials have already prepared a business case for a replacement. A new, two-lane structure is expected to cost at least $250 million.
The ministry will now carry out geotechnical, hydrotechnical and environmental investigations "to prepare options for consideration," the government said.
Consultations with First Nations and public engagement sessions begin in spring 2020.
The Taylor Bridge sees 7,500 vehicles a day, with one third of that commercial traffic.
The District of Taylor has signalled its support of four-laning the Alaska Highway through the district if the bridge were to be improved and expanded to four lanes.
While local ministry officials have expressed a preference for a two-lane replacement, they have also studied the potential for a four-lane bridge, or whether to resurface the existing steel deck and eliminate the yearly welding program.
The government has yet to announce any funding for a replacement.
Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at firstname.lastname@example.org.