Damage to the Shellbrook overpass this week has sparked renewed calls for a second bridge in or near Prince Albert.
But the item has been on the Saskatchewan NDP`s agenda before that. The Saskatchewan NDP is claiming the Sask Party MLAs in Prince Albert are not doing enough to push the issue.
"They are always worried about photo ops and PR, this government in the Prince Albert area should be fighting for things that Prince Albert needs right now like a second bridge, better highways, and more training programs," said Athabasca MLA Buckley Belanger, deputy whip and critic for highways.
Belanger cited the Highway 11 twinning as the latest example of a project that the Sask Party was trying to take complete credit for.
The bridge issue was a hot topic during the last provincial election, and the highways critic said the Sask Party has failed to keep its promise to Prince Albert residents and business owners.
"We know when the election was on, absolutely everybody within the Sask Party was saying that they were committing to this project, we have all those quotes, we have all those commitments made, and now they are turning their backs on Prince Albert," said Belanger.
A report commissioned by the province last year found there was no need for a second bridge for the next 25 years. The City of Prince Albert countered that the Stantec study was not complete. A plan to inspect the underwater portion of the bridge was recently approved by Prince Albert city council. The inspection will be paid for by the province. Belanger said the results of any bridge study will not matter.
"We know the government is going to come up with some excuse after another, after another, they are trying to justify that they broke this promise to the people of Prince Albert," he said. "If you make commitments to the business community of Prince Albert and you don't follow through, there will be repercussions."
During the last election in 2011, the NDP said if elected they would build a second bridge for Prince Albert. Leader Dwain Lingenfelter mentioned during a press conference in Saskatoon, physical construction could begin by the spring of 2013.
“We’ll start immediately after the election on Nov. 7 and work with the council and get the construction started so that during our first term, the second bridge will be completed,” he said.
The NDP was shut out in the last election in the Prince Albert riding. Belanger said the NDP will work even harder during the next election to win back support.
"If we make commitments to Prince Albert, we will follow through with those commitments."
On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell
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