Army engineers and an injection of cash from the federal government will help kick-start the Lacombe County leg of the Trans Canada Trail.
Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins announced Tuesday that the federal government will provide $50,000 toward building a pedestrian bridge at the southern boundary of Lacombe County where the C&E Trail meets the Blindman River.
The new bridge will go in the spot where a traffic bridge was torn out a number of years ago, said Phil Lodermeier, operations manager for the county.
His department is seeking $225,000 from the county’s 2010 budget for the first phase of the trail, taking it from the Blindman River to the Town of Blackfalds.
Alberta Trailnet has contributed $100,000 toward the project and Trans Canada Trail has provided $51,040. Lacombe County committed $50,000 earlier this year for building materials.
While county workers will lay the bridge foundation this winter, members of the Corps of Engineers will build the bridge deck and install the handrails in spring, said Lodermeier.
“They quite willingly volunteered. I guess they do this on occasion and it’s good practice for them,” he said.
The bridge deck will be about 2.5 metres wide, just narrow enough to discourage people from trying to drive quads or trucks across.
A second phase will take the trail to Lacombe and then there will be two more phases from Lacombe to Morningside, where the trail will meet the Ponoka County leg, said Lodermeier.
“The Trans Canada Trail will eventually stretch from Penhold to Ponoka.”
Lodermeier anticipates that Lacombe County’s share of the project will take roughly four years to complete.
Calkins was to announce similar funding today for the Ponoka County leg of the trail, which will include a pedestrian bridge over the Battle River.
Funding for the trail projects comes from a total of $25 million for recreational trails provided under the Conservative government’s Economic Action Plan.
Funds for the projects are being administered by the National Trails Coalition.