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Last updateFri, 24 Mar 2023 11am

Wheatland County approves budget increase for more bridge repairs

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Wheatland County council has approved an increase of $335,000 to its 2023 Operating Budget to complete some extensive repairs to several bridges within the county.
Operations manager Cody Zimmerman presented council with the request during the regular Tuesday, February 7 council meeting and explained inspections of six major bridge files within the county’s jurisdiction showed potential rot on five bridges, requiring significant repairs.
“Annually we complete inspections on a portion of bridge files to make sure everything is safe and up to code, and safe for public use,” Mr. Zimmerman shared during the meeting.
Once the rot was identified, additional inspections were conducted but the results were not received until December 2022 after budget deliberations were held, and repair costs were much higher than originally anticipated.
Mr. Zimmerman noted extensive rot was found on multiple bridge elements. This has resulted in a lower rating of the bridge substructure, which has also impacted remaining estimated lifespan of these structures, and require immediate attention for repair.
All five bridges are located in the northern portion of Wheatland County between Range Road 244 and Range Road 222, south of Highway 9 and north of the Village of Rockyford.
“All of these bridges were in the bridge plan for the next five years for replacement, with a total cost of $2 to $3 million per bridge,” Mr. Zimmerman said.
He added it is not recommended to delay repairs as these structures directly affect transportation and public safety. It is estimated the lifespan of these bridges could be extended between nine and 15 years, which would delay the need to replace these structures, if repairs are completed immediately.
Wheatland County council had previously approved a total of $260,000 for engineering and contracted services within its 2023 operating budget for bridge maintenance and repairs. However, with the additional files added the cost of repairs is estimated to be some $330,000 above this previously allocated amount. This includes an approximate additional $33,000 for engineering costs and some $298,000 in contracted services.
Council unanimously approved the increase of $335,000 to complete repairs of these bridge files; this work will be tendered for completion later in the year.

Drumheller man receives 30 days for simple possession, condition breach


A Drumheller man facing multiple drug related charges appeared in provincial court in Drumheller on Friday, February 10.
Jeffery Morse, 41, maintained a not guilty plea to the charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking; however, he entered a guilty plea to the lesser offense of simple possession.
The court heard a Drumheller RCMP officer was conducting patrols in an unmarked vehicle on January 6, 2021.
There was an ongoing investigation following a Crime Stoppers tip which alleged Mr. Morse and another individual were selling drugs out of a residence in the 500 block of 3 Avenue West in Drumheller.
During surveillance on January 6, the officer noticed multiple people attending the residence, some with known involvement in the “drug subculture.” Some of these visits were very brief in duration, and most of these took place in the back alley.
An informed opinion based on these observations was determined by the officer that drug trafficking was occurring and a search warrant was obtained.
Upon execution of the search warrant, a number of narcotics, which included suspected cocaine and methamphetamine, were found along with digital scales, drug packaging materials, and proceeds of crime. Approximately 14 grams of a substance was seized, which later tested positive for methamphetamine.
Defense argued Mr. Morse has struggled with addiction for the past several years, and the methamphetamine found was not for the purpose of trafficking but was instead personal possession.
The plea to the lesser offense was accepted, along with a guilty plea to one count of breach of condition which occurred in December 2022 after Mr. Morse was observed attending a residence in Drumheller he was conditionally prohibited from.
Crown and defense submitted a global disposition of 30 days for the simple possession, and 30 days concurrent for the breach of condition; Mr. Morse was given credit for 20 days of pre-trial custody. Remaining charges were withdrawn for this case.

Impaired driving sanctions for driver in construction site crash

Vehicle in Trench Hwy 10

The Drumheller RCMP have been busy with three serious impaired driving investigations, including one where an 18-year-old driver crashed through the water main construction site on Highway 10 near Walmart.
At 3:27 am on February 18, Drumheller RCMP members received a report of a single-vehicle collision, with no injuries, in a construction zone located on Hwy 10.
RCMP members attended the scene and found a white 2006 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck in a deep trench located in the construction zone. The investigation found that the vehicle had driven past barricades, through a security fence and crashed into the trench striking a water pipeline. The vehicle was occupied by 2 persons at the time of the collision.
The driver of the vehicle, an 18-year-old male and probationary driver (GDL) from Drumheller was subject to Roadside Alcohol Testing and it was found that his blood alcohol limit exceeded the legal limit. As a result, the driver was subject to Immediate Roadside Sanctions.
Representatives from the construction company and the Town of Drumheller attended the scene to assess damages to the site and eventually the damaged vehicle was removed from the trench via a tow truck and seized.
In a separate incident, at approximately 1:20 am also on February 18th, RCMP members were on patrol and observed a white SUV, later confirmed to be a white 2015 Jeep Compass, driving at a high rate of speed near the intersection of Hwy 10 and Hwy 56 in Drumheller.
A member eventually caught up to the vehicle on Grove Avenue and attempted a traffic stop but the vehicle failed to stop and quickly proceeded to a nearby residence. Once at the residence, the driver fled on foot inside the residence. An officer pursued the suspect and took him into custody after a minor altercation with another occupant of the home.
The driver, a 23-year-old male and probationary driver (GDL) was subject to Roadside Alcohol Testing and it was found that his blood alcohol limit exceeded the legal limit. As a result, the driver was subject to Immediate Roadside Sanctions and the vehicle was seized. The driver was also issued a $120.00 violation ticket under Section 90.25(1) of the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Act for possession of Cannabis in an open package and within reach of a vehicle occupant.
Also a separate incident, at approximately 3:45 pm on February 9th, 2023, an RCMP member on patrol observed a grey 2007 Chevrolet Equinox SUV fail to stop at a stop sign on Railway Avenue W and 2nd Street SW in Drumheller. The member further observed the driver of the vehicle throw litter out the window and drive erratically including cutting off another vehicle.
A traffic stop was conducted and the driver was subject to roadside alcohol testing and failed. The investigation also found that the driver had a suspended driver’s licence and had a history of impaired driving charges and convictions. The driver was arrested and breath test results later confirmed the driver's blood alcohol limit was over twice the legal limit. As a result, the driver was subject to Immediate Roadside Sanctions and was criminally charged. Charges included:
Impaired Operation of a Conveyance Contrary to Section 320.14(1)(a) of the Criminal Code;
Operate a Conveyance while over 80 mg/% of alcohol in 100 ml of blood contrary to Section 320.14(1)(b) of the Criminal Code;
Dangerous Operation of a Conveyance contrary to Section 320.13(1) of the Criminal Code;
Drive Unauthorized contrary to Section 94(2) of the Traffic Safety Act;
Fail to Stop at Stop Sign contrary to Section 37(a) of the Use of Highway and Rules of the Road Regulations;
Improper Disposal of Waste on Hwy contrary to Section 179(1) of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.

The driver, a 63-year-old male from Craigmyle, Alberta, was released from custody on an Appearance Notice and is scheduled to appear in Drumheller Provincial Court on April 14th, 2023.

Staff Sergeant Robert Harms of Drumheller RCMP stated “It was a miracle that nobody was injured in these incidents. Each incident is a prime example of how impairment affects the judgement and behaviour of a driver and ultimately puts the public at risk. It is disappointing to see that impaired driving continues in our communities; with that said, the Drumheller RCMP will continue to seek out impaired drivers and hold them accountable at the highest levels”.

If you have any information regarding criminal activity in your neighbourhood, including impaired drivers, please call 911. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at or by using the "P3 Tips" app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.


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