After almost a decade of discussion and study, Northumberland County Council will proceed with plans for the design and construction of a new two-lane bridge in Campbellford, now that the Environmental Assessment has passed ministry tests.
“Plans to develop a new river crossing in Campbellford have crossed the proverbial bridge,” the county stated in a media release Monday.
The new bridge will be located about 400 metres south of the existing Bridge Street bridge, between Second Street and Alma Street.
“County Council is proud of the years of research, consultation, and strategic planning the County and Trent Hills staff have put into delivering this result for the community,” said Warden Mark Walas.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change made its final ruling on the bridge plans in June, adding the following conditions: that the county live up to what it promised in the Environmental Assessment, that a road salt management plan be created, that bike lanes be considered, and that the final design be submitted to the ministry before it is built.
“After almost a decade of hard work and dedication by community residents, both County and Trent Hills staff, Council members, and various engineering firms, a vital new river crossing will be constructed in Campbellford,” stated Trent Hills Mayor and County Councillor Hector Macmillan.
“For some residents, this will bring relief as they move forward with decisions they knew they may have to make with this project coming to fruition. For the vast majority of Northumberland residents, and Trent Hills residents in particular, the completion of this critical infrastructure project will deliver on many exciting objectives.”
Macmillan says the bridge will help resolve traffic gridlock and reduce wait times at the river crossing. He added that he expects new opportunities for economic growth once the bridge is built.
“There is high expectancy throughout the community that the new bridge will be architecturally pleasing, as well as highly functional.,” he said.
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The need for improved river crossing capacity in the Campbellford area to serve long-term traffic needs has been discussed for the past 30 years. Most recently:
- The County launched new Trent River crossing plans in 2008, beginning with an Environmental Assessment study.
- By late 2009, that study concluded that building a second river crossing between Second Street and Alma Street in Campbellford was the most suitable option.
- With resident concerns about the impacts and costs of such a project, further engineering studies were conducted until late 2012, at which point the Environmental Assessment Study was restarted.
- This process was completed in early 2014 and further recommended the second bridge option in Campbellford between Second Street and Alma Street.
- This decision was based on a combination of previous engineering and associated technical studies conducted in 2008/09, and updated assessments that followed, including new traffic studies, additional cultural heritage, and archaeological impact assessments, and impact mitigation recommendations.
- Extensive public information-sharing and consultation also took place through public meetings, study notices and newsletters, contacts with County and Trent Hills staff, and public attendance at study meetings.
- The Environmental Assessment study was approved by the County and Trent Hills Councils in mid-2014. This approval resulted in twelve requests to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change by members of the public for more detailed study.
- In response, the County conducted further work during 2015, as requested by the Ministry. This included added consultation with potentially affected First Nations communities, and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport on further archaeological assessments, and a new cultural heritage impact assessment of the preferred Second-Alma crossing.
There is no time frame yet on the beginning of the construction. The first step is to begin the design, the county said.