By Marianne Curtis
For the residents in St. Adolphe, the reopening of the Pierre Delorane bridge in the community spells freedom at long last after nineteen months of lengthy detours.
On March 8, the bridge at St. Adolphe was officially re-opening after sustaining major damage during the 2009 spring flood. Part of the Pierre Delmore Bridge suddenly buckled and it cost the province 15 million dollars to repair it.
Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton was on hand to personally open the bridge, which is vital to the community.
“When I looked at the faces of local residents that will be able to drive over the bridge , that made it all worth while,” stated Ashton. “Its more than a $15 million investment – it’s a lifeline to this community and those that live around this area.”
The bridge has been closed in August 2009 after support piers shifted. In early 2010, the province fast tracked the project financially and construction commenced in the spring. However high water levels affected the project over the summer and the fall opening date was pushed back until spring 2011.
Initially the bridge was expected to be open in the fall, but the province decided to take the extra time needed to upgrade the bridge to last several more decades explained La Verendrye MLA Ron Lemiuex.
“The repair took longer than we anticipated but we decided that since the bridge was going to be closed anyways it would made sense to do the best possible repair job,” added. “Instead of just fixing a portion of the bridge we did a total makeover to make sure it will last for another thirty to forty years.”
RM of Ritchot mayor Bob Stefaniuk is pleased that the bridge was reopened before the community was forced to close the ring dyke.
“In the event that we close the dyke, the bridge is the only way out of the community – we are glad that it has finally opened,” stated Stefaniuk.
All traffic lanes on the bridge are now open however there will be brief, single-lane closures over the next few weeks and during the summer to complete final repairs. As well, road approaches and landscaping work will be done later in the spring and summer around the bridge. In addition to the bridge repairs, the structure has been rededicated. New signs identify the bridge by name, acknowledging the long history of the Delorme family in the area.
Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation Steve Ashton and La Verendrye MLA Ron Lemiuex get ready to officially reopen the St. Adolphe Bridge.