Alberta is considering replacing a ferry service with what would be the Canadian province’s first toll bridge.
The La Crete Ferry at Tompkins Crossing on provincial Highway 697 shuttles vehicles across the 0.7km wide Peace River. The crossing is in a remote location near the town of La Crete, population around 2,500 and about 700km north of the provincial capital Edmonton.
Alberta Transportation said on its website that now other tolls across the province are being considered.
This bridge – expected to cost around US$152 million – “would replace the winter ice road crossing and aging seasonal ferry”, noted the department. The 33.4m-long flat-bottom ferry was built in1987 and carries two crew members, 60 passengers and 14 mid-size cars.
“Seasonal crossings are closed 30% of the year and are often disrupted by poor weather and wait times of up to three hours during peak periods. A reliable year-round bridge would reduce travel times and congestion, improve trade movements and attract investment to the region.”
The cost of the bridge is not in the province’s 2020-23 Capital Plan. “A new financing approach using road user fees could allow this project to proceed during this time of fiscal challenges. Road user fee systems exist in five [other] provinces and territories.”
Alberta Transportation has gone out to public consultation on the project. “Feedback will help us determine support for building this project through alternative financing and how road user fees could be implemented for the project,” it said.