May 14, 2014 6:16 pm

Bridge repairs could lead to traffic backups near downtown Calgary

CALGARY- A frequently used bridge will soon be undergoing a major overhaul—leading to commuter chaos in the inner city.

Two century old bridges in Inglewood need to be replaced: the zoo bridge, which connects drivers to St. George’s Island, as well as the 9 Avenue bridge.

Headaches are expected once crews tackle the 9 Avenue bridge, which links Inglewood to east downtown. Over 22,000 drivers per day will need to find a new route while the bridge is built.

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“It’s very difficult, because the new bridge will be exactly where the old bridge is,” explains Malcolm Logan from city transportation.

“It could be similar to what we have done on some of the Bow River bridges, where we had to shut it down for a period of possibly a year.”

There are also concerns about what it means for businesses in the area.

“It’s hard to ask businesses to weather another storm, given we have just weathered a major flood, but the reality is Inglewood is a destination,” says Rebecca O’Brien, executive director of the Inglewood BRZ.

Fortunately, the new zoo bridge will be finished first, which could serve as an alternative. Work could be finished as early as next year, and the plan will see the original bridge stay in place while the new one is built right beside it.

“It doesn’t allow adequate room for pedestrians, cyclists, trucks, buses, so it’s really quite a restrictive structure,” Logan adds. “It’s about 100 years old, built on wooden pilings with steel  reinforcement. It has served us well, but it’s time to replace it.”

The cost of rebuilding both bridges is $30 million.

 

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