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Rebuild starts on Beaver River Trestle

The wait is finally over for outdoor enthusiasts in the Lakeland. By this fall, Iron Horse Trail users will once again be able to cross the Beaver River Trestle. “It's been a long stretch.
Town of Bonnyville Coun. Ray Prevost hands a cheque for almost $13,000 to representatives from Northeast Municorr and the Riverland Recreational Society as part of the
Town of Bonnyville Coun. Ray Prevost hands a cheque for almost $13,000 to representatives from Northeast Municorr and the Riverland Recreational Society as part of the municipality’s contribution to the rebuilding of the Beaver River Trestle.

The wait is finally over for outdoor enthusiasts in the Lakeland. By this fall, Iron Horse Trail users will once again be able to cross the Beaver River Trestle.

“It's been a long stretch. We're excited to see today construction crews come on site and things finally start to move ahead with the rebuild,” expressed Marianne Price, Administrative Coordinator for the Iron Horse Trail.

The trestle was damaged in June 2012 after a lit car was pushed off of the north end embankment and become lodged in the trestle, causing the structure to go up in flames. Nearly three year later, the rebuild of the landmark finally started last Tuesday (May 12).

“I'm very happy, mostly for all of the patient people that have been waiting for so long for it to be repaired,” said Jerry Bidulock, founding president of the Riverland Recreational Trail Society.

Members of Johnston Construction and ISL Engineering, the two companies working on the project, were on hand for final municipal funding cheque presentations. The City of Cold Lake, MD and Town of Bonnyville showed their financial support, bringing the total municipal contribution to $249,000. Earlier this year, the federal government committed $211,000 to the rebuild. However, Price said they're still short $775,000 for the near $1.6 million project.

“We're going to be looking at talking to some of the businesses in the Lakeland area, some of the corporate people. We're still talking to our provincial government and seeing if they can help out a little bit more,” explained Price, who added that they are very thankful to have the support of all ten municipal partners.

In order to retain the heritage of the iconic landmark, it was decided not to change the design in any way. The Beaver River Trestle will be rebuilt with new timber, but will retain the look and feel of an old train trestle. Price noted though that they have been in discussions with companies to look at some fire retardation systems.

Owen Langton, of Johnston Construction, said that rebuilding the trestle presents some unique challenges.

“On (the south) side it's the height. It'd be an 80 foot fall after the fence is removed. On the other side it's a burnt structure that we need to work around.”

The crews will be starting on the south side of the structure, planning to remobilize to the north side around mid-July. While Price said they're really hoping for an end of August finish, Langton noted that it would likely take longer.

Regardless, Price was extremely pleased to see an important aspect of the regions heritage finally getting the attention it deserves.

“The Beaver River Trestle has been here since the late 1920's – ‘30's so it's part of our heritage. It links up Cold Lake to Saskatchewan, and Cold Lake to the rest of Alberta…so it connects the communities like the train used to do.”