September 29, 2017 12:33 pm
Updated: September 29, 2017 8:54 pm

Edmonton pedestrians can now use new Walterdale Bridge

WATCH ABOVE: The third lane for vehicles and the sidewalk for pedestrians opened on the new Walterdale Bridge on Friday morning.

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The Walterdale Bridge is officially open to everyone, including pedestrians.

On Friday morning, the new bridge’s third lane and the west pedestrian walkway opened.

“Now that it’s open to three — I mean, it’s still going to bottleneck downtown, that’s why we didn’t make it an eight-lane bridge because the congestion you hit right after the bridge is a fact of life — but as a three-lane bridge, it should flow a lot smoother with the merging of the two hills coming together,” Mayor Don Iveson said.

Two of three lanes of the Walterdale opened to commuters on Sept. 18 after more than two years of delays.

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READ MORE: Edmonton’s new Walterdale Bridge opens after lengthy delay

Pedestrians were using the west sidewalk on the old Walterdale Bridge until Friday. With both vehicle and pedestrian traffic now open on the new bridge, the old Walterdale is completely closed for demolition.

“It’s awesome,” cyclist Myrnel Jonson said on Friday. “Absolutely beautiful.”

“I love the contrast of the old and new,” fellow cyclist Lynette Jonson added. “It’s beautiful.”

“Seeing it up close, it’s just amazing,” pedestrian Ian Patton said. “It’s really a beautiful piece of work, even if it’s a couple years late, I don’t care. It’s beautiful.”

Those getting onto the new bridge from the Kinsmen Centre will continue using the existing road until the access is realigned.

The new shared-use path on the east side of the new bridge will open later this fall.

READ MORE: Walterdale Bridge opening delayed again, to mid-2017

Watch below: The new Walterdale Bridge is finally open to traffic and now, all three lanes are flowing and a path for pedestrians and cyclists can be used as well. Kent Morrison reports.

The $155-million Walterdale Bridge project began in the spring of 2013, with construction initially scheduled to be complete in fall of 2015. However, there were multiple delays because of late arriving material and weather-sensitive work.

The contractor, Acciona-Pacer Joint Venture, has been charged two kinds of penalties for the delays: $10,000/day for site occupancy and $7,000/day for administration costs.

READ MORE: Walterdale Bridge contractor could face $10.5M in late fines

The site occupancy penalties started accruing on June 12, 2015 — the day APJV promised the bridge would open — while the administration costs penalties started accruing on Oct. 15, 2016.

Based on the daily fines, the total cost of penalties is estimated to be between $10-$12 million.

“There’s actually $12 million owing to the city in the form of penalties, so the accountability systems worked here,” Iveson said. “But still, I think there are things we can learn from this in terms of how we structure contracts to try to deliver more contracts on time.”

— With files from Emily Mertz

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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