POUCE COUPE, B.C. – The Pouce Coupe River Bridge has reopened after being closed several times for repairs following a tanker truck crash in November 2019.

The $3.6 million improvements included replacing the steel railings with concrete barriers, widening the deck edges and enhancing drainage.

The upgrades will improve the long-term safety and reliability of the bridge, said the province in a statement Monday.

“Highway 49 is a critical route between northern B.C. and Alberta that supports our transportation and tourism sectors,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Ensuring the long-term integrity of the Pouce Coupe River Bridge provides reliable access for the people who live and work in the region and supports our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic through the safe and efficient movement of goods.”

Over a year ago, the tanker was carrying crude oil, lost control, crashed, and caught fire, resulting in the bridge closure and spill response. The crash caused serious damage to the two-lane, 60-metre bridge.

In August 2020, it was announced that work would begin to repair and improve the bridge, which sees around 2,800 vehicles a day during the summer months. The rehabilitation work started in December 2020.

The bridge was built in 1972 and is located approximately nine kilometres east of Dawson Creek, says the province. Highway 49 is the primary overload route from Alberta into the province, making the bridge an essential part of transportation infrastructure for commercial and industrial travel.