Yukon gov't unveils plan to save historic Ross River bridge

The territorial government told Ross River residents Tuesday it will save the historic suspension footbridge, reversing an earlier decision to demolish it over safety concerns.

Ross River, Yukon, residents who fought to save a historic suspension bridge on the Pelly River from demolition are declaring victory. 

A government MLA and three government deputy ministers travelled to Ross River on Tuesday to announce the plan to save the approximately 70 year old foot bridge. That effectively reverses an earlier government decision to demolish the historic bridge because of safety concerns.

Kitty Sperling, one of the residents who fought to preserve the structure, was at the meeting when the announcement was made.

"So wonderful, after all that we have gone through to try to save this bridge it was really really wonderful to hear the government equally wanting to save this bridge and stabilize it," Sperling said.

The government plan calls for one metre diameter pipes to be cemented in place on either side of the existing bridge towers. New cross braces will be welded in place at the top of the pipe towers underneath existing suspension cables, and a new bridge deck installed.

The work is expected to begin this fall and could continue over the winter months.

The bridge was built during the Second World War. It held the Canol Pipeline that carried oil from Norman Wells, N.W.T., to a refinery in Whitehorse.