Lesser Slave River News

Community news updates from the MD

Weight Restrictions for Smith Bridge

As part of its effort to prolong the life of the Smith Bridge, MD Council has enacted temporary weight restrictions for certain vehicle types. Signage has been installed along 9th Street and the Old Smith Highway indicating the maximum gross vehicle weight (GVW) allowed per truck type. Crossing the Smith Bridge in a vehicle that exceeds these weight limits can damage both the bridge and your vehicle, meaning you or other bridge users may not be able to cross safely. If your vehicle damages a bridge, you may be held liable for the cost of repairs. Any bridge that that cannot safely support all legal vehicles must be weight restricted. The new weight restriction signage displays the maximum vehicle weights the Smith Bridge can safely support. If the Smith Bridge factors into your travel route, you should review the Smith Bridge Weight Restrictions page  of the MD website to familiarize yourself with the new weight restrictions — whether you drive a Civic or a cement truck. Understanding the posted weight limits It is your responsibility as a driver to know your vehicle and load; understand posted signage; and obey the weight limits. Here's a primer on what the limits mean. Single Unit Truck: This vehicle can weigh no more than 23 tonnes GVW, or 23,000 kg. Note that the image shows one chassis with no separation between tractor and trailer. Standard Semi Truck: This icon indicates that the bridge can only carry a truck of this configuration weighing a maximum of 41 tonnes, or 41,000 kg. Combination Truck: A single-unit vehicle pulling a trailer. The bridge can only carry a truck of this configuration weighing a maximum of 53 tonnes, or 53,000 kilograms. Answers to common questions about the bridge restrictions Why does the MD need to restrict traffic on the Smith Bridge? As a bridge approaches the end of its service life, load restrictions are typically put in place to extend its life span to the degree possible. Deterioration taks an accelerated curve toward the end of a bridge's life, and the MD needs to take proactive steps to slow this curve down. I've heard the term "urgent" being used. Should I be concerned? There is no need for concern from a public safety standpoint. From a municipal governance standpoint, we have an urgency in keeping the Smith Bridge as serviceable as possible for as long as possible without needing to limit commercial traffic or vehicle weights too drastically. In addition to weight restrictions, what else is being done? The MD is lobbying the Government of Alberta to prioritize the required funding to rebuild the Smith Bridge. Additionally, the MD is engaging provincial decision-makers to support interim work to extend the bridge's operable lifespan. What type of interim repair work is being contemplated? A debris-created undercurrent in the Athabasca River has badly eroded ground cover for a support pier (a condition called pier scour). By remedying the pier scour before spring 2023, the MD can protect the bridge against the next flood event. In the nrear term, the MD also wants to address damage to the bridge truss in several areas. How are these new weight restrictions being enforced? The MD is relying largely on driver compliance. This being said, the Smith Bridge is being monitored more closely — both electronically and by enforcement personnel. Any issues with non-compliance with the new weight restrictions will be addressed accordingly. If I need to exceed the weight restrictions, what are my options? The MD has developed a tool to determine wear and tear if loads exceed those currently posted. You may contact the Transportation department at 780.849.4888 ext. 233 to enquire about a one-time permit. Please note that nt every request will be allowed. Where loads are divisible, they will not be permitted (i.e.: gravel, hay, livestock feed) but in cases where this is impossible, (i.e. equipment) an exception may be granted.

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MD administration offices are open from Monday to Friday between 8:15am and 4:30pm.
Main Office: Box 722 - 3000, 15th Ave SE, Slave Lake, AB
T:780.849.4888  F:1.866.449.4888
Sub-office: 660061 Range Road 20, Flatbush, AB
T:780.681.3929  F:1.866.681.3929




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