Westside residents have lost one of their routes into downtown Lethbridge.
Ongoing maintenance work on the Crowsnest Trail bridge over the Oldman River has temporarily severed access from eastbound Bridge Drive West. Drivers will have to detour by way of Whoop-Up Drive or access Highway 3 at the Highway 25 interchange.
Responding to increased congestion on the two remaining eastbound routes, city transportation officials have posted an online video, urging drivers to “zipper merge” as they enter eastbound Highway 3 or Whoop-Up Drive. That helps vehicles in the entering lane to reach the same speed as ones in the lane to the left, allowing drivers take turns merging before the right lane ends.
Meanwhile, the ramp to westbound Bridge Drive will remain open, Alberta Transportation officials say.
But traffic across the river will be restricted to one lane in each direction, using both westbound lanes.
Until sometime in July, officials say the speed limit has been reduced to 50 km/h and drivers can expect periodic delays.
There will be no pedestrian access to the bridge, but cyclists may use the traffic lanes.
More subsidized child-care coming
Lethbridge parents will gain 82 subsidized child-care spaces in September, as the Alberta government adds 6,000 spaces to its $25-per-day program.
The Lethbridge YMCA will open a “pilot project” in the Lethbridge Centre, officials say, and also plans to add 62 westside spaces next year.
But it’s not known if those would be subsidized.
“The opportunity to offer affordable child care helps us create the impact we want to have in the community, particularly to advance positive child, youth and family development,” said Jennifer Petracek-Kolb, chief executive officer of the Y in Lethbridge.
“We thank the province for entrusting our charity with this additional investment to support families through child care that is high quality, affordable and accessible.”
On Wednesday, Premier Rachel Notley announced 100 child-care facilities will be added to the joint federal-provincial program, in addition to the 22 already operating.
Job hunters getting help
Job hunters in southern Alberta are getting support from the province to gain valuable and employable work skills.
On Tuesday, Christina Gray, Alberta Minister of Labour, along with Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services, announced $15 million in new funding over the next three years to expand the Transition to Employment Services program in 14 communities across Alberta.
This funding will provide about 1,500 urban and rural Albertans with opportunities to gain skills, expand existing skills and learn about transitioning trends in emerging job sectors.
In Lethbridge, Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass and Fort Macleod, the Changes Transition to Employment Program serves about 90 people and will be receiving $368,000.
“Over the past two years, Alberta has experienced the greatest recession in a generation thanks to the global drop in the price of oil,” Gray said.
Tourism centre almost ready
A new tourism and information centre is almost ready to open.
William Slenders, executive director of the Lethbridge Destination Management Organization, updated the Community Issues Committee on LDMO activity over the past three months.
Slenders said the priority is that the Destination Showcase and Information Centre is operational, and running smoothly — in that all the mobile and ancillary services are being delivered effectively.
The Destination Showcase is set to open for a soft launch in the second week of May, with a Grand Opening before the Victoria Day weekend. The Destination Showcase will be located at 327 5 St. S. in the downtown core.
It will provide a new hub for developing an interactive teaser of the city in a gallery format. It will make new use of attractions marketing, information displays and modern itinerary building platforms for users.