“We charge by the mile. We pay our guys by the mile. So every additional mile was a cost,” said Richards. “Unfortunately we’ve had a couple of instances where our guys ignored the signs and got significant fines.”


But the increased weight limit will accommodate almost all of Yanke’s trucks and 85 per cent of all trucks across the province.


“(We’re) just happy that it’s been able to move forward,” said Richards.


He said the Yanke Group makes trips to and from Prince Albert “weekly if not daily.” Retail products are shipped to major city stores and other products are transported to northern mills.


Yanke Group is one of many trucking companies that pass through Prince Albert to get to the northern part of the province.


“Many people don’t realize that Prince Albert is the gateway to the North,” said Robert Cotterill, the Prince Albert city manager. “Any ability to assist the trucking industry by raising the weight limit is a positive.”


Cotterill added large amounts of products such as pulp, paper, uranium and cement are transported through the city to northern communities.


He said the bridge failed because of a crack in a support girder.


“The failure mechanism…occurred on one portion of the bridge. It could happen on other connections on the bridge,” said Richards. “There’s about 300 connections that are similar to the one that failed.”


Subsequently, all of those mechanisms need to be replaced at the cost of an estimated $3 million.


He said the project has already cost the provincial government $1 million through the Urban Highway Connector Program that came into effect just before the bridge failed.


The primary weight limit of 63,500 kg is expected to be restored by early March. Final repairs are scheduled to be completed in August.

 

Lisa GoudyLisa Goudy (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) is a contributing reporter for the University of Regina School of Journalism's 2012 news service for weekly newspapers in Saskatchewan.  She is from Regina and has spent 16 weeks in the newsroom of the Regina Leader-Post, fulfilling the internship that is part of the journalism course. She will graduate this spring. Lisa has a passion for reading, writing, performing music, photography and travelling the world.