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Residents to vote on prioritization of possible third bridge

​Lethbridge residents will provide direction in October whether its municipal government should prioritize plans in the coming years for a possible third traffic bridge crossing over the Oldman River.

Lethbridge City Council on Tuesday voted 6-3 to place a question on the October 18, 2021, General Municipal Election Ballot that reads: "Do you agree that city council should approve plans to construct a 3rd bridge prior to 2030 as a municipal capital project priority?"

"Council is acutely aware that a third bridge has been a major topic of discussion in the community for many years," says Mayor Chris Spearman, who introduced the motion. "By placing this question on the election ballot in a non-binding manner, the next Council will have some new and informative resident-driven data to analyze moving forward."

As part of the approved resolution, Council directed Administration to provide objective and neutral information on the City website on the following:

  • Expected capital cost
  • Current traffic volumes including peak and non-peak times of day
  • Impact of borrowing required funding on municipal taxes
  • Impact of external grants, if received from provincial and/or federal governments
  • Expected economic benefit due to construction
  • Expected economic benefit post construction
  • Ongoing budget pressure associated with ongoing maintenance
  • Estimated impact of greenhouse emissions and environmental impact

The Chinook Trail River Crossing (Preliminary Design) was included as part of 2022-2031 Capital Improvement Program (CIP). In June, Council approved the first four years (2022-2025) of the 10-year capital plan. The Chinook Trail River Crossing is currently set for a $4-million preliminary design in 2027, which is outside of the four-year approval window. Projects scheduled beyond 2025 would come back to the next CIP deliberations.

An election ballot question is non-binding and the next Council can potentially further debate direction moving forward based on question results.

On July 13, Council voted to also place a question on the October 18, 2021, General Municipal Election Ballot that reads: "Do you support using a ward system to elect City Councillors (other than the Mayor) starting with the 2025 municipal election?"