Ground conditions are being investigated this week for the new bridge crossing the Bow River, bringing the long sought project closer to reality.

Drilling crews are currently examining conditions for the anticipated bridge approaches and similar tests will soon be conducted on the river bed.

Rick Deans, senior manager of Infrastructure Services, is thrilled to embark upon the construction stage of the project that the town hopes to have completed by the fall of 2020. It has taken several years of complex discussions to reach this point.

"I'm excited to be a part of some of the long-needed transportation corridor upgrades," says Deans. "It has been a long time coming but we have been working on it for a number of years. It's a complicated process when you're working with multiple land owners and trying to get proper alignments and different things like that. And here we are starting to see the benefits of those discussions come forward and within the next three to four years we're going to see a major connection from the north to south across the river, so we're excited about that."

Understanding ground and river bed conditions are just a part of the geotechnical report being completed to help design the bridges approaches.With that information, the town will take the bridge to a 30 per cent pre-design, Deans explains.

The town is also exploring the options for project delivery.

"We haven't landed on going the traditional route of a design bid tender scenario, or design build or design assist. We're weighing out all the various options and efficiencies of how to deliver the bridge project and we're going to make that decision as well this year," Deans explains.

Once that is determined they will engage potential contractors and get the main body of the project underway..

This May, the Griffin Rd. expansion will completed to as far as a new traffic circle that will be located by the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sport Centre. The town wants to see that completed in the 2017 construction season, says Deans.

"We're certainly going to do our best to try to complete this expansion project or the main components of this expansion project within this construction season," says Deans. "We may have to come back a little bit in the spring of 2018 to do final landscaping and things like that but the intention is to go great guns on Griffin Rd. North in early May."

.From 2018 to 2020 and bridge and the south connection to Rivera Way will completed.

This, in combination with the major Hwy. 22/Hwy.1A intersection upgrade, will go a long way in helping reduce traffic congestion in Cochrane, believes Deans, and that's good news for Cochranites.

"Within the next five years some of the major pinch points are going to have some relief," he says.





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