The provincial government continues to “determine a long-term solution” for Taylor Bridge, which crosses the Peace River between Fort St. John and Dawson Creek in northern British Columbia.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure made that comment as part of a statement to Black Press Media after shadow Finance Minister Peter Milobar had questioned why the provincial government has not yet come forward with a replacement plan for the bridge.
The bridge, spanning 712 metres, opened in 1960 and about 7,500 vehicles drive across it every day, according to provincial figures. Commercial vehicles carrying goods throughout the Peace region and into the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Alaska account for 30 per cent of all traffic.
But this major piece of northern infrastructure is getting long in the tooth and former Fort St. John mayor Lori Ackerman has called it the holiest bridge in B.C. in alluding to the alleged praying among drivers crossing the bridge.
Five options for the future of the bridge currently circulate: maintain the existing bridge in good repair; extensively renew it; replace the existing bridge with a new two-lane bridge; replace the existing bridge with a new four-lane bridge; and renew the existing bridge and add a new two-lane bridge.
The ministry’s statement to Black Press Media pegged the Taylor Bridge project in the planning stage, adding that budget surplus cannot be allocated toward projects constructed beyond the 2022-23 fiscal year.
The statement also pointed out that transportation infrastructure projects are occurring all across the province.
Milobar said he does not want to divide rural and urban British Columbians.
“They (rural British Columbians) don’t begrudge the Skytrain extension to Broadway,” he said. “They all understand how important it is to the economics of the Lower Mainland and the province. But they are also saying, ‘our projects need to get done too.’”