County buys a bridge for a buck

An enormous relic from what used to be the Alberta Central Railway is set to get a new owner.

A pair of horses run through a pasture below the Mintlaw Bridge about 10 km southwest of the city Tuesday: Red Deer County has purchased Alberta’s second longest railway bridge from CP Rail.

An enormous relic from what used to be the Alberta Central Railway is set to get a new owner.

Located just off of the C&E Trail southwest of Red Deer, the Mintlaw Bridge spans the Red Deer River adjacent to acreage subdivisions west of Springbrook and the Red Deer Regional Airport.

On Tuesday, Red Deer County council agreed unanimously to buy the 97-year-old bridge for $1 and issue a tax receipt for $8.8 million to its current owner, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.

The purchase does not include railway rights-of-way leading to the bridge, which is valued at $8.8 million in its current state and has an estimated lifespan of 80 years.

While the trestle still stands and the bridge deck remains intact, the rails have been gone for a number of years.

In presenting CPR’s offer to council, assistant county manager Ric Henderson said the county would acquire a valuable asset that has already been recognized as a heritage site with significance and integrity.

The county has been given an inspection report that details repairs needed, estimating that it would cost $2.1 million.

The report estimates that building a replacement, without rails, would cost $24.6 million.

Mayor Earl Kinsella said it will be up to a future council to decide what to do with the bridge.

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