Decalta bridge open to traffic
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Dec 04, 2013 09:58 am
Turner Valley residents cut off from their town for the past five months are now reconnected.
The Decalta Bridge, which was damaged when the Sheep River washed away the road approach and abutments in the June 20 flood, officially re-opened to traffic last week.
“It’s nice to have the whole community back together again,” said Turner Valley Mayor Kelly Tuck. “We certainly had a disconnect because we have residents that live up here. I’m sure they’ll be pleased that they can come down the hill now and get their mail or visit their friends.”
For the last five months, Turner Valley residents living in the 100-plus homes south of the Sheep River had to access the northern portion of their community by driving to Black Diamond and west on Highway 22.
“It’s great to have that open,” said the Town’s director of engineering and municipal operations Andy Pfeifer. “Access to both communities is the key role of what we try to achieve.”
Pfeifer said the Town was receiving two to three emails a day and councillors were inundated with questions from residents asking when the Decalta Bridge would be open.
“We got a lot of pressure,” he said. “It was a priority for us to do that.”
Reconstruction of Decalta Road and portions of the bridge began in September after the project was approved for funding from the Province’s Disaster Recovery (DRP) Program.
“The local contractor was able to get right at it,” he said. “The equipment and materials were available in the area and MPE Engineering foresaw the construction work.”
Pfeifer said the road is currently a gravel surface and will be paved as weather permits in 2014. Motorists can also expect minor construction over the winter as the graveled surface is maintained.
“The road was in pretty rough shape in the first place,” he said.
“We have to rebuild a part of that road.”
The telecommunications and electric utilities in the bridge washed out during the flood and are now fully restored, said Pfeifer. Temporary lines were installed until the road and bridge construction was complete.
Riprap was also reestablished around the bottom of the bridge.
Decalta Bridge wasn’t the only severed access point for Turner Valley residents as a result of the June 20 flood.
Residents were blocked from Black Diamond when Highway 22 at the Black Diamond bridge was washed away in the flood.
Although the full cost of the project has not yet been tallied, Pfeifer said the bill is already at $2.4 million.