*EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally said the cost of the temporary crossing would be shared between the city and the mall. However, the cost of the temporary crossing will be covered by the city, while the cost of the permanent footbridge will be shared between both parties.
A temporary pedestrian access way to help people cross 170 Street and get to West Edmonton Mall will be constructed by the end of the October.
“While we work on the bigger issue of the bridge replacement, one of the big concerns I had been hearing was the lack of any crossing — even temporary — to access WEM,” Coun. Andrew Knack said in a Facebook post.
“I have now received confirmation that work on a temporary crossing will be starting quite soon so that people can cross 170 Street at 90 Avenue.”
Knack said a new pedestrian sidewalk connection will be built from the east boulevard of 170 Street at the 90 Avenue intersection. The goal is to have construction completed by the end of October.
“The need is really temporary in nature,” Knack explained on Monday. “What’s happening right now is there’s going to be a temporary crossing across 170 Street and 90 Avenue where we have a set of traffic signals already… We didn’t want to go another winter without any type of crossing.”
The temporary access will require a few changes, including creating an opening in the sound barrier wall and adding some additional lighting. The city found savings in other infrastructure projects for the temporary crossing. The cost of the permanent footbridge will be shared with the mall.
The permanent crossing is expected to be built next year.
Knack said he’s heard from a lot of constituents about this particular issue.
“It’s been something that, generally speaking, the vast majority of people in the west end expressed a very high demand to see that replacement, particularly those who use mobility aids.
“We have seniors in walkers, people in wheelchairs, people who use canes trying to cross six lanes of traffic on 170 Street at street level… Having that footbridge over top of it was very valuable for them, people felt much safer doing that and it’s actually better for traffic flow too.”
Crossing the busy Edmonton street has been an issue since the old footbridge near 87 Avenue was torn down last summer because it was deemed a public safety hazard.
“A full footbridge must still be built and there will be some engagement with affected communities and stakeholders to inform that replacement work,” an information bulletin sent to West Meadowlark Community League residents said. “In particular, there needs to be a lot of engagement with the residents who live closest to the previous footbridge as they can experience the greatest impact of that foot traffic.
“We still need to have a replacement bridge in place prior to starting Valley Line West LRT construction so there are deadlines for this project.”