New bridge for Pumpkin Hollow

Well in advance of pumpkin season, visitors will once again be able to use exit “C” to access Pumpkin Hollow this fall.

A bridge, commonly known as Pumpkin Hollow bridge, has been replaced to allow safe access for all motorists.

The new bridge went into place Feb. 14.

Pumpkin Hollow remained closed in the 2016 season as landowner Lindy Schaefer worked to have the infrastructure replaced. Schaefer fronted the cost of the replacement.

“The bridge needed replacing so we took the steps to do it,” said Schaefer as he watched the new bridge move into place Feb. 14, pieces slowly lowered into place by a tall crane.

The replacement comes after inspection report recommendations. In 2012, AECOM engineers recommended the bridge either be monitored monthly by the RM of Lumsden for worsening condition, or closed due to deficient structural elements and public safety concerns.

Three years later, the RM received a second inspection report recommending the closure of the structure. According to RM records, the bridge was installed in 1950.

Schaefer, who has owned Pumpkin Hollow since Jan. 1, 2015, explained the bridge project has been in the works for approximately one year, Cary’s Trenching and Trucking completing the preparation work for the new bridge as well as the installation. Schaefer noted they had to wait until the ground froze and for the right weather before National Crane Services could lift the new crossing into place.

“With everybody’s best efforts we were able to pull it off,” Schaefer said.

He noted there was still work to do after the new bridge pieces were positioned, the crossing needing to be built up, but he hoped the bridge would be re-opened in the coming weeks.

“May, June, when dry up comes, (the bridge) will be accessible for sure,” he said.

With the new bridge, Pumpkin Hollow will be re-opening for the 2017 season. The property is scheduled to be open for fall family activities from Sept. 9 to Oct. 15.