June 22, 2018 1:19 pm
Updated: June 24, 2018 1:19 pm

Mill Creek Ravine bridges reopen ahead of schedule and on budget

WATCH ABOVE: Two century-old pedestrian bridges in Mill Creek Ravine have reopened ahead of schedule and on budget. Albert Delitala has the details.

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The pedestrian bridges in Edmonton’s Mill Creek Ravine have reopened four months ahead of schedule and on budget, the city announced on Friday.

“Completing this rehabilitation on budget and ahead of schedule will provide residents the opportunity to safely use the Edmonton River Valley trail system throughout the summer months,” director of transportation infrastructure delivery Sam El Mohtar said in a release.

READ MORE: Mill Creek pedestrian bridges need to be repaired or replaced: report

The city spent $7.7 million to rehabilitate two trestle bridges and replace one trestle and two glulam (glued-laminated timber) bridges.

The bridges were built in 1902 as part of the Edmonton, Yukon and Pacific Railway. After the railway was decommissioned in 1958, the bridges were converted to pedestrian use after the city was transferred ownership in the 1970s.

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READ MORE: Edmonton pedestrians can now use new Walterdale Bridge

The city attempted to maintain the historical look and feel of the rehabilitated trestles by using 20 to 25 per cent of the original wood.

“This project would not have been possible without the insightful feedback provided by the public,” El Mohtar said. “A large majority of respondents felt the Mill Creek Ravine trestle bridges had historic value, and reusing wood from the original structures allowed us to improve the safety and functionality of the bridges, while ensuring the longevity of this piece of Edmonton’s history.”

Bob Thompson has lived in the area for about 40 years. Joking the bridges are now the “eighth wonder of the world,” he said he plans to walk them two to three times a week.

“You’ve got to feel good. You’re in touch with nature,” Thompson said. “They’ve done a nice job on this. It’s just a feel-good project.”

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According to the city, the three original structures were documented for historical references based on the provincial Historical Resource Act.

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