News from Hwy. 88: bridges should be finished soon

Traffic fairly heavy

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

It’s been reported there’s a shortage of drivers in Alberta. Sources in the field of labour development tell us pretty much every company is looking, and the statistics on the age of the driving workforce point to bigger shortages on the way.

Also in the news, locally, is the condition of Highway 88. It gets a lot of heavy haul traffic, and is deteriorating rapidly in some spots. That’s bad for all drivers; making it worse for the past 16 months have been two rough detours around washed out culverts at Lily Creek and Brady Creek.

Paving of the approaches happened a week or two ago. A worker on the scene told The Leader on Nov. 9 the last remaining touches could be finished by the end of the week.

It will come as quite a relief to have the way clear again. The condition of the rest of the road remains a big concern, as municipal councils have been expressing in strong terms every chance they get.

So how many heavy rigs are using Hwy. 88 at the moment? We spent 15 minutes counting on Nov. 9, from 3:28 p.m. to 4:43 p.m. at the Sawridge Travel Centre. For what it’s worth, 22 big trucks went by in that time. 10 were log trucks, 12 of various other types. Multiplied over a 12-hour day (which may or may not reflect what actually happens), that comes to 1,056 trucks. Numbers like that are not that useful until they are compared with similar numbers on other highways, or on the same highway at other times. The log haul numbers will certainly climb as we get further into winter. They always do. So we’ll go back and do further 15-minute counts – perhaps at intervals of a month and see how it shapes up.

Whatever the numbers are, Hwy. 88 is taking a pounding, and deserves some attention from the provincial government.

Fresh pavement on the new bridge over Brady Creek on Hwy. 88 suggests the job is almost finished. An unnamed source on the scene said he expected the bridges to be open later in the week.

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