Piece of Edmonton history ends with demolition of old Walterdale Bridge

WATCH ABOVE: It's the end of an era. The more than 100-year-old Walterdale Bridge is coming down. Fletcher Kent has the details.

The life of the old Walterdale Bridge is coming to an end.

Major demolition work will begin on the old bridge this weekend with the removal of the north truss. Crews will use a crane to lift the truss and set it onto the north river berm for dismantling.

“The sidewalks have been removed, the utilities, the metal decking,” Ryan Teplitsky with the City of Edmonton said.

The crane lift is expected to take several hours, but could be impacted by weather.

For safety reasons, the west sidewalk on the new bridge will be closed during the crane lift. Pedestrians and cyclists will have to use the west bridge lane of the new bridge under the guidance of a flagperson, while vehicles will use the other two lanes, the city said.

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The work has been scheduled during less busy traffic time to decrease the impact on pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

“It’s fairly standard,” Teplitsky said. “There’s no explosives involved… This is just pick it up, lower it down, use large hydraulic shears and cut it all up.”

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But it isn’t as simple as out with the old, in with the new.

There was a feeling of nostalgia coming from several people who passed by the bridge on Friday. Jerry Krossa-Wong spent a lot of time running across the bridge and admits while the new bridge is beautiful, he will miss the old Walterdale.

“It’s sad. I paid a lot of attention to when it was going to be the last time and when it would be the last time we could walk across it and stuff,” he said.

“It’s just kind of bittersweet because I started my running career here. When I first started running, I couldn’t run. So even going across a bridge like that was a big deal for me.”

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

Demolition of the old Walterdale Bridge is expected to be finished by the end of the year. After the north truss is removed, the south truss and centre truss will be lifted and dismantled.

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The final stage of demolition will be the removal of the concrete piers from the river and bridge abutments.

The old Walterdale was built in 1913 by the Dominion Bridge Company. It was named after John Walter, who was an early settler and ran a ferry at the same location of the bridge.

The city said some of the steel will be salvaged for repurposing in a future project.

“We are aware there is a lot of historical significance to this bridge,” Teplitsky said. “We’re looking at salvaging pieces of the old grating, the old bridge plaque, large box beams, even the sidewalk.

“Flowerbeds, they could put them into benches. The south abutment could be used as a lookout… It’ll all have to be refurbished. It’ll all have to be cleaned up. There’s lead in the paint on some of the members so that will all have to be taken out.”

The new $155-million Walterdale Bridge opened in September after more than four years of construction.

There were multiple delays with the project 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 per day for site occupancy and $7,000 per day for administration costs.

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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.

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