St. Patrick’s Bridge finally open

It took five years to build – one more than planned.

But it’s finally open.

St. Patrick’s Bridge, linking the East Village to Bridgeland, officially opened Monday.

Several dignitaries, including the bridge’s designer, were on hand for the event.

“Super happy, really super happy,” said Jean Francois Blassel.

“I can say that is what we are here for, and that is our job to make the city better and to create a better environment.”

The bridge, featuring “skipping stone” arches, came in slighter under its $25 million budget – ironically, the same cost of the Peace Bridge, which drew a lot of criticism.

But the St. Patrick Bridge is also twice as long.

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“We looked at many bridges to make sure our price points were on track, and I think this bridge is not only stunning, it’s responsible”, said Michael Brown, CEO of Calgary Municipal Land Corporation.

Brown added it’s expected to get a lot of traffic.

“Our starting point, and we’re pretty conservative with our numbers,  is that 4,000 people a day are going over –  and as you can see now it’s being used, so that is good news.

Mayor Nenshi says the pedestrian bridge addresses a critical need.

“This one is even more important because all the development happening north of the river, really those people didn’t have a safe, comfortable, easy way to get to work downtown.”

Area residents like Dwaine Amason are glad to see it open.

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“We are excited to get a gateway from Bridgeland directly into East Village,” said Amason.

“There is going to be a lot of new development here, so we are looking forward to the restaurants and activities”,  he added.

Construction of the bridge was delayed because of damaged incurred during last year’s flood.

WATCH: Pedestrians and cyclists now have a new way to get downtown. Doug Vaessen reports from the site of the grand opening.

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