Work is being done to allow for the transportation of large farming machinery to bypass a beautifully-created rainbow bridge that was built over a century ago in the RM of Portage la Prairie.

Reeve Kam Blight says the work to preserve it and another in the region is done. He explains all that's involved with making way for larger equipment that the bridges cannot facilitate.

"It started a couple of years back on one of the locations," says Blight. "What we did today (in the RM council meeting on Tuesday) was create a road opening bylaw. We've kind of altered the course of the road to bypass where the rainbow bridge is. So, there's a new crossing put in across the La Salle River with a couple of large culverts so that a lot of the traffic and heavy equipment will not be utilizing the rainbow bridge anymore. This will help preserve it going forward because it was built back in 1919."

Rainbow bridgeThe historic Rainbow Bridge at 69N and 21W

Blight adds they widened the road's right-of-way to accommodate the new crossing over the La Salle River. He says this will benefit many of the people in that area by allowing them to drive large, heavy equipment. 

Ward 3 Councillor Ryan Kontzie says the bridges are extremely old, huge, steel bridges that were beautifully constructed. 

"They're just made for, more or less, small trucks or horse and buggy, so we can't get any machinery across them," notes Kontzie. "We're trying to save the bridges to preserve them, then we've made culverts to go around them, and a roadway to go around them, for updated machinery."

He says it's been a big project for the RM but it's a good effort to save these kinds of structures from the past.

"I find that very good on the RM to take on those initiatives. We've had lots of funding with that, as well, to try and make it work for all the residents to get their machinery through there easily, instead of having to go miles around to get to a certain area."

Work at La Salle BridgeWork underway at La Salle Bridge