The 61-year-old Salmon River Bridge, on Highway 97 north of Prince George, will be replaced with a new structure that can handle oversize transport trucks, as part of B.C. on the Move, the Government of B.C.’s 10-year transportation plan.

The new bridge will be wider and have a greater load capacity, supporting the movement of heavy loads required to service the resource sectors such as oil and gas, LNG and forestry. The total value of the project is estimated at $24 million.

The ministry will also be extending the existing four-laning of Highway 16 west of Prince George. Design work is underway to widen the highway starting at the Bunce Road intersection and extending west for approximately 3.4 km. In addition to four-laning, the project will also upgrade the intersections at Bunce and Blackwater roads. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2017.

“Upgrading and replacing bridges and widening highways to ensure the safe and efficient movement of goods to support our growing resource sectors is a provincial priority,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone. “During B.C. on the Move consultations, keeping commercial traffic flowing smoothly was also a high priority of residents in Central B.C., so it’s great to see projects like this get underway on this key corridor.”

“Replacing an out-dated structure with one that will not restrict heavier, wider and over-height loads when required will help keep Highway 97 a safe and efficient corridor for residents, industries and tourists,” said Mike Morris, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie.

“Replacing this bridge and widening Highway 16 is a critical and long sought after investment in our region,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and MLA for Prince George-Valemount. “This project will also fall under our new guidelines for the use of apprentices on public projects, which means that contractors will be required to include apprentices in their workforce, giving them a chance to work toward completion of their red seal apprenticeship.”

B.C. on the Move is government’s new 10-year plan for the improvement of the province’s transportation network. It provides a comprehensive road map for transportation investments and strategic policy actions over the next decade. The actions prioritized in B.C. on the Move will enhance safety, grow the economy, maintain and replace aging infrastructure, and support trade for B.C.’s expanding resource sectors through Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway.

Over the next three years, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will invest up to $2.5 billion to improve British Columbia’s transportation network.

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