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Increased traffic spurs bridge project

YELLOWKNIFE, N.W.T. -- The new Martin River Bridge will be officially unveiled on July 21 in the Northwest Territor...

YELLOWKNIFE, N.W.T. — The new Martin River Bridge will be officially unveiled on July 21 in the Northwest Territories, following almost a year of construction.

Construction of the new Martin River Bridgelocated on the Mackenzie Highway just outside of Fort Simpsonbegan in September 2006 and was completed on June 14. The old Bridge was installed in 1989 and was replaced to increase public safety as more vehicles travel along the Mackenzie Highway.

Over the years, there has not only been an increase in traffic on this bridge, but there has also been a number of accidents at the bridge, said Transportation Minister Kevin Menicoche. This new bridge should help reduce the number of accidents and accommodate the increased loads.

To improve safety and accommodate the increase in traffic, the new bridge is approximately 20-meters longer than the previous bridge and 1.5-metres wider. The ramps on both sides of the bridge are also built so that the traffic will approach the span straighterwhich will create better lines of sight for motorists.

During the winter road off-season, the residents of Wrigley and their suppliers are the primary users of the Martin River Bridge; however, when the winter road to Colville Lake opens, the bridges traffic flow drastically increases with an influx of trucks.

The previous bridge will be refurbished for future use at a new location. Over the years, portable bridges have been moved along the Mackenzie River, but this will be the first time that such a large bridge will be relocated and reused.

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