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Groat Road Bridge reopened for Thursday morning commute

WATCH ABOVE: The closure cause traffic problems in many areas on Wednesday. Sports anchor Quinn Phillips and photographer Wes Rosa were among those caught in gridlock and they tried a little experiment to see who could move around faster.

The city of Edmonton said it has resolved the crane problem that closed the Groat Road Bridge on Wednesday, and the roadway is open again in time for the morning rush hour.

“Groat Bridge is open again. Please drive carefully through the construction zone; watch for City roads and construction crew members. Thanks for your patience as we resolved this!” the city tweeted at 6 a.m.

What happened?

The Groat Road Bridge was closed in both directions Wednesday afternoon following an incident with a construction crane. The city said a crane wheel derailed, leading to the closure of the traffic lanes and sidewalk.

Sam El Mohtar, the city’s director of transportation infrastructure delivery, said a corner of a gantry crane — a crane that moves on fixed steel tracks — came off the track.

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“It’s not like your typical tower crane. There’s no individual inside,” he said.

“The contractor will bring a mobile crane on the traffic side of the bridge and put the gantry crane back on track.”

No one was injured in the ordeal and no damage was done, according to the city. However, occupational health and safety is looking into it.

“OHS was informed of a potential issue with a crane on the Groat Road bridge project in Edmonton. An officer attended the scene, and OHS will be investigating,” a statement from the province said.

A stop work order was issued for the operation of the crane and “a notice to produce was issued for documentation relating to the incident investigation,” OHS said.

OHS said it would be on contact with the contractor as the investigation is completed and the crane is repaired or removed from site.

The bridge over the North Saskatchewan River is located just south of River Valley Road. The following closures and detours were in place Wednesday:

  • Southbound lanes are closed at 107 Avenue
  • Westbound traffic on Victoria Park Road is being rerouted onto northbound Groat Road
  • Northbound Groat Road is closed at Emily Murphy Park Road
  • River Valley Road is closed under Groat Road
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Drivers are asked to take other routes while crews work to resolve the issue.

The closure led to traffic backups downtown and in the University of Alberta area during the evening commute Wednesday. Shortly after 5 p.m., 109 Street southbound was backed up to Kingsway with motorists trying to use the High Level Bridge to cross the North Saskatchewan River.

Traffic in the area of Saskatchewan Drive and 116 Street around 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 as the Groat Road Bridge remained closed.
Traffic in the area of Saskatchewan Drive and 116 Street around 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 as the Groat Road Bridge remained closed. Wes Rosa, Global News
Traffic in the area of Saskatchewan Drive and 116 Street around 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 as the Groat Road Bridge remained closed.
Traffic in the area of Saskatchewan Drive and 116 Street around 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 as the Groat Road Bridge remained closed. Wes Rosa, Global News
Traffic backups in the University of Alberta area Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 due to the closure of Groat Road Bridge.
Traffic backups in the University of Alberta area Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 due to the closure of Groat Road Bridge. Wes Rosa, Global News

El Mohtar said crews would likely be on scene through the night and perhaps even into Thursday morning. Once the crane is back on the tracks, crews will need to assess the site to ensure it is safe to continue work and open up the busy bridge.

“Right now we’re focusing on getting this done through the evening and into the morning,” he said.

A map showing the Groat Road Bridge area rehabilitation project.
A map showing the Groat Road Bridge area rehabilitation project. Courtesy/City of Edmonton

Shortly after 9 p.m., the city tweeted that the bridge remained closed in both directions and that it expected to have an update for Edmontonians at 5 a.m. on Thursday.

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A $48-million construction project is underway, which involves work on three area bridges: the Mayfair Bridge over Groat Road near Emily Murphy Park south of the river, the Groat Road Bridge over the North Saskatchewan and the Victoria Park Road Bridge over Groat Road.

READ MORE: Groat Road Bridge construction underway

The work began in April 2018 and is expected to last three construction seasons.

WATCH BELOW: The Groat Road Bridge was closed around noon Wednesday when a crane wheel came off the tracks. It led to massive traffic backups during the afternoon commute. Julia Wong has more.

Groat Road Bridge closure leads to major traffic backups in Edmonton
Groat Road Bridge closure leads to major traffic backups in Edmonton

— With files from Karen Bartko, Global News