The local group looking to build a new pedestrian bridge in the heart of Plum Coulee hopes to get going on construction this year. Sod was turned on the project at a ceremony Wednesday morning.
"It's just so exciting. It's about time. We've worked on this bridge project for about two-and-a-half years and it's finally going to come to fruition," said June Letkeman, the resident that's been spearheading the effort.
She added, this bridge is "absolutely necessary" to help pedestrian and cycling traffic quickly travel between the north and south sides of town.
"We have no safe way of walking from one side of town to the other. We have the business side where we have the schools and the churches and everything, and then we have all the new development on the south side. We can use Highway 306 or Highway 14, neither of which have sidewalks, and it's just not safe for anyone to walk on or to use their scooters."
Kyle Wiebe is part of the local committee and he's been doing a lot of the engineering work on the project. He hopes to get Phase 1 off the ground this year.
"Phase one is including all of the engineering that's required for the bridge. We've got a set of design requirements that was laid out from the provincial authorities. The provincial waterway that we're crossing needs a fair bit of approvals, and we're working towards that. And then the foundation is part of phase one. So, we're well over halfway with the engineering process. We're hoping to be able to submit our package for final approval in the coming weeks or months and hoping to have the foundation on track for 2023 construction."
With fundraising and grants garnering just short of $300,000, Letkeman says they have enough money to do phase 1, and she is optimistic the rest of the funds for the $320,000 project will funnel in.
"It's amazing how generous everyone is, and the support we've had is just amazing," she said. "Every soup and pie we've had, or anything, that has just been very, very well supported. We're selling boards for the bridge and that has also been a nice fundraiser for us, and we've gotten grants. So, I'd say we're doing very well."