People in the western Manitoba community of Waskada say they're thrilled to hear the provincial government will fast-track construction of a replacement bridge over the Souris River.

The bridge on Highway 251 between Waskada and Coulter, Man., collapsed in July 2011 due to river flooding.

Since then, area residents like Shirley Kanaghan have been fighting to get a temporary bridge built.

Kanaghan and others have said the long detour motorists must currently take has created headaches for residents and for people working in the local oil fields.

"On that detour road … there were a lot of oil field vehicles, and we were very concerned about accidents," she told CBC News.

The province will accelerate construction of a replacement bridge, with a contractor expected to be on site by early next month, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton announced Wednesday.

The new bridge should be completed by late in the fall of 2013, the province said in a release.

Provincial officials have rejected residents' requests for a temporary bridge, arguing that it would cost almost as much to build as a permanent replacement.

On Wednesday, the province says it normally takes about five years to design and build a bridge like the one between Waskada and Coulter.

"We are trying to get this done in half the time," Ashton said in the release, noting that weather could be a factor.

The province said it has already designed the structure, obtained environmental approvals, awarded contracts for construction and the supplying of girders.

The installation of the girders and construction will take place next year.