Repairs planned for Ross River bridge

The Yukon government may save Ross River's footbridge after all. Yesterday the territory announced it would issue a request for proposals to stabilize the 70-year-old suspension bridge so it is no longer at risk of collapse.

The Yukon government may save Ross River’s footbridge after all.

Yesterday the territory announced it would issue a request for proposals to stabilize the 70-year-old suspension bridge so it is no longer at risk of collapse. This comes after residents of the community camped out on the ice this month to prevent contractors from demolishing the structure.

Until now the government had repeatedly insisted the bridge is unsafe and needs to come down. An engineering report from September found that the footbridge over the Pelly River is at risk of imminent collapse and poses a threat to human safety.

The bridge was constructed by the U.S. Army in 1944 to carry an oil pipeline over the river, and was later retrofitted as a footbridge. It has been in disrepair for decades.

On top of the risk to people, the ferry runs on a cable next to the bridge. If the structure fell, it could cause damage to the ferry and harm the people on board, government officials have said.

Yesterday, Premier Darrell Pasloski insisted that his government’s priority is still public safety.

“What has changed is that we’re going to look at … options to stabilize the structure, and that will allow the ferry to operate once it’s stable,” he said.

“We’ve heard a lot of people talk about different opportunities that could exist, and really we’ve heard very clearly from the community. It certainly has got the support of the community.”

Community members first took to Facebook expressing their desire to keep the historic structure.

Then earlier this month a group began camping out around the clock in what was seen as a last-ditch effort to save the bridge.

One local engineer, Robert Wills, insisted the footbridge could be made safe with only minor repairs.

Last week the premier sent top party officials to the area to meet with the community.

So far the government has only committed to stabilizing the bridge so options for repair can be considered. It’s unclear how much it will cost, or what will happen to the contractor who was hired to take it down. The $171,490 contract to take down the bridge was awarded to Klondike Welding Ltd.

Ross River Dena Council Chief Brian Ladue praised the government for its decision.

“We feel that together our respective governments can find solutions to secure, make safe, and then restore the historic bridge,” he said in a statement.

NDP MLA Kevin Barr said he was glad the government relented, calling it “a huge testament to the people of Ross River and the determination to protect our shared heritage.”

“It’s important, and finally the government is realizing that,” he said.

– With files from Jacqueline Ronson

Contact Ashley Joannou at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announce the first COVID-19 related death in a press conference announcement Friday morning. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
UPDATED: Yukon announces first COVID-19-related death

The person was an older Watson Lake resident with underlying health conditions, officials said

Wyatt's World for Oct. 30.

Wyatt’s World for Oct. 30

Health Minister Pauline Frost insists no one who shows up at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter for dinner will go without a meal, despite no drop-in dinner service being offered starting on Nov. 1. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Non-profits concerned as Whitehorse Emergency Shelter ends drop-in dinner service

Minister Pauline Frost insists everyone who needs one ‘will be provided with a meal.’

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29. Affordability challenges is being described as being among the most pressing issues facing housing markets throughout the north in a report released Oct. 29 by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Home, rent prices increasing in Whitehorse, northern housing report says

Affordability continues to be a major challenge, report says

Premier Sandy Silver talks to media in Whitehorse on March 19. According to the premier, who is also the finance minister, the Yukon government ran a $2.6 million deficit in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, instead of the surplus it had originally predicted. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government ran a $2.6 million deficit in 2019-2020

Deficit attributed to lower-than-expected revenue, higher expenses on health and social side

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and management roundtable discussion Sept. 26, 2019. During an Oct. 29 meeting, Constable highlighted a number of potential changes to the City of Whitehorse procedures bylaw. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Work on City of Whitehorse procedures bylaw continues

Officials will look at procedures for other municipalities

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley at a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Aug. 26. Hanley said the source of the outbreak in Watson Lake may not ever be found, but contact tracing in the community continues. (Alistair Maitland Photography)
New Whitehorse COVID-19 case is unrelated to Watson Lake cluster, officials say

Chief medical officer of health says avoid indoor Halloween parties, monitor for symptoms

Joel Krahn/Yukon News file Whitehorse City Hall.
Whitehorse city council, briefly

Updates on matters before city council on Oct. 26

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
GoFundMe for Whitehorse boy hit by car on Range Road raises more than $62k in a day

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting an upcoming public hearing on Nov. 23 ahead of second reading on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Local contractors will be given an advantage on a contract for the design and construction services that will see a new reception building at Robert Service Campground decided city councillors during the Oct. 26 council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local firms will get advantage on contract for new Robert Service Campground building

Yukon-based companies competing for contract for new reception building will receive 20 extra points

Fallen trees due to strong winds are seen leaning on to power lines which caused some power outages around the territory on Oct. 26. (Courtesy of ATCO)
Wind knocks out power around the Yukon

High winds on Oct. 26 knocked out power to Faro, parts of Whitehorse and beyond

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

Most Read