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Calgary drivers could face hefty fines for ignoring weight restrictions on 9 Avenue S.E. Bridge

Police are enforcing the five-tonne weight restriction on Calgary's 9 Avenue S.E. bridge with hefty fines this spring. Global News

If you cross the 9 Avenue S.E. bridge into Calgary’s Inglewood neighbourhood with more than five tonnes — or 11,000 pounds — in tow, you could face a hefty fine.

Police spent Monday stopping overweight vehicles to explain to drivers that officers will be enforcing the weight rules, which have been in place since January.

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On Jan. 24, the city decreased the restriction to five tonnes from 8.5 tonnes after an inspection found bottom chords on the bridge were being overstressed.

Police are enforcing the five-tonne weight restriction on Calgary’s 9 Avenue S.E. bridge with hefty fines this spring. Global News

The truss bridge’s age and high traffic volume are factors in the effort to spare it from any extra mass.

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“It’s 110 years old and it was deemed by the city engineering department as starting to fall apart so they deemed that [weight] needed to be reduced to get the longevity out of the bridge until the new one is put in place,” said Const. Chris Moriarity of the Calgary Police Service.

Because buses and fire trucks are considered to be essential services, they are exempt from the restrictions, the city said.

Commercial drivers should know their vehicle’s weight — but private passenger vehicles driven with a Class 5 licence, like motorhomes and moving vans, can outweigh the bridge as well, Moriarity cautioned.

Police check a truck’s weight on Monday before it crosses Calgary’s 9 Avenue S.E. bridge. Global News

Fines

For trucks weighing 5,001 kilograms up to 10,000 kg, the penalty is $34 per 100 kg plus a 15 per cent surcharge.

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  • 1,000 kg over = $391
  • 2,000 kg over = $782
  • 3,000 kg over = $1,173
  • 4,000 kg over = $1,564
  • 5,000 kg over = $1,955

For vehicles weighing 10,001 kg up to 15,000 kg, the penalty is $47 per 100 kg plus a 15 per cent surcharge.

  • 6,000 kg over = $3,246
  • 7,000 kg over = $3,783
  • 8,000 kg over = $4,324
  • 9,000 kg over = $4,864
  • 10,000 kg over = $5,405

The city recommends detours that avoid the bridge (and potential fines).

Temporary and permanent bridges on the way

Since the bridge is not built to modern standards, it will be replaced because safety is paramount, said Charmaine Buhler, the manager of bridge maintenance.

“We want to make sure we’re protecting the public and preserving the bridge until we can replace it,” she said.

A temporary bridge is scheduled to open this summer so traffic can flow while the permanent bridge is constructed.

The five-tonne restriction won’t apply when the interim bridge opens, according to the city.

Calgary’s 110-year-old 9 Avenue S.E. bridge will be replaced by fall 2020, the city said Monday. Global News

Commuters can expect very little impact during construction, said Evan Fer, the project manager of transportation infrastructure.

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The city said the permanent bridge is set to open in fall 2020.

“The permanent bridge will be four lanes,” Fer said. “It will have transit-only, HOV [high occupancy vehicles] lanes. It will have wider pedestrian pathways on each side and it will not have a weight restriction on it. It will also be higher in elevation by about a metre, which is better for flood resiliency.”

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