The Steen River CN rail bridge, which burned in a northern Alberta wildfire in late May, has been repaired sooner than expected.
The 360-foot bridge allows the transport of fuel by rail to Hay River for distribution to other NWT communities, including barge delivery to a number of settlements. There is no alternative rail link to the territory.
The rebuild, supported by funding from energy firms Imperial and Suncor, included the reconstruction of the approaches to the bridge on both sides of the river – using concrete and steel – and replacing the bridge deck across the river.
In early June, the territorial government reported Imperial Oil would cover the cost of transporting fuel by truck to some communities while the bridge was rebuilt.
Wally Schumann, the infrastructure minister, had said there would be no impact on prices while fuel was being trucked in.
“This rail bridge is the commercial link for many communities near Great Slave Lake … and is key to their economic development,” said Raj Gupta, vice-president of system engineering at CN, in a statement announcing the bridge was once again operational.
Another CN spokesperson said the disruption to services over the past few months was minimal as alternative means of delivery were quickly organized.