SASKATOON – It won’t alleviate your traffic woes any time soon, but it’s on its way. On Wednesday, local media were given a tour of the North Commuter Parkway site and the work completed to-date.
While the site still doesn’t look like much right now, it’s history in the making. Clearing, topsoil stripping and ditch excavation are underway as another bridge is added to the City of Bridges.
“They’ve got their first stage cofferdam in the river and they are just about to complete evacuation for pier one to start construction of pier one,” said Dan Willems, director of major projects for the City of Saskatoon.
“That will happen over the course of the next few months and they’re hoping by late summer they’ll be able to push out further into the river and begin construction of pier two.”
It’s a five span, three-pier bridge that will connect the Marquis Industrial area with University Heights. The construction site is massive, and there are several crews working, 25 pieces of equipment and the site goes on for as far as the eye can see.
The biggest challenge so far says officials has been regulatory approvals but crews were given the go ahead to do in-river work two weeks in advance of fish spawning season.
Approved in 2013 by city council, federal and provincial delegates made an official announcement regarding the bridge and it’s funding in 2014. As well as the stipulations regarding the construction, one contractor was awarded the work on this bridge as well as another upstream.
“We were very happy with how fast the Traffic Bridge got started and North Commuter Parkway Bridge we were hoping to start a little bit earlier in the winter but were able to get our approvals and get to work within a reasonable time-frame, so we’re pretty happy with the progress so far,” said Willems.
Once the bridge goes up, it’s anticipated as many as 22,000 vehicles will cross the North Commuter Parkway every single day. As our population grows, traffic volumes on the bridge are expected to increase to 50,000 motorists each day which will ease traffic congestion on Circle Drive North.
So what will this $211.4 million P3 bridge to the future look like?
“Six lanes running across the river and tying into marquis drive, there will be cyclist and pedestrian accommodation,” said Willems.
“There will be a two meter cycle-way on the north side of the bridge and a three-and-a-half meter wide multi-use pathway for cyclists and pedestrians on the south side of the bridge.”
Work is expected to be complete by October 2018.