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Winnipeg eyes repairs to keep dilapidated Arlington Bridge open a few years longer

The Arlington Bridge may have a few years left in her.
The Arlington Bridge may have a few years left in her. Getty Images

Winnipeg’s Arlington Bridge may get a few more years.

The City of Winnipeg has put out a Request for Tender for major structural repairs to the bridge, which has been slated for demolition numerous times in its long lifespan.

The repairs include shoring up framing of the floor beams, replacing eroding and corroded parts, steel plating and installation of new steel diaphragms and supports to “existing severely corroded structural steel members.”

As well, the tender states the bridge requires new steel decking under parts of the corroded sidewalks, heating and straightening the lower 1/3 of the bridge’s pier column, and shoring that up as well.

READ MORE: Winnipeg group says ‘it’s time’ for rail relocation

The bridge, which is nearly 110 years old, was slated to be closed this year with the hope of a new bridge by 2024. Inspections done in 2018 had the bridge listed in “poor condition” along with the Louise, Redwood and Seine Road bridges.

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The cost of the replacement has been pegged anywhere from $319 million to $343 million, depending on the options city hall selects for the type of bridge.

The cost of the repairs to the bridge will depend on the winning tender.

It’s unknown how many years the repairs will give the bridge.

The bridge crosses the CP railyards and links the North End with the West End. Without the bridge, traffic would have to funnel to the Slaw Rebchuk bridge, about 2.5 kilometers east.

Click to play video 'Young child and woman in critical condition after crash near Slaw Rebchuk Bridge' Young child and woman in critical condition after crash near Slaw Rebchuk Bridge
Young child and woman in critical condition after crash near Slaw Rebchuk Bridge

The bridge has been slated for demolition numerous times, starting in the 1940s.

Young-Jin Cha, a University of Manitoba Civil Engineering professor, told  Global News in 2018 that the bridge was suffering from “severe corrosion” and “major cracks”, adding while it was impossible to condemn the bridge without thorough testing, there were some red flags.

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“The main steel member [of the Arlington] has a crack; that is one of the critical damages,” Cha said. “We cannot predict when another member or another location of one of the bridges will have a similar type of critical damage.”

“Nobody can guarantee that the Arlington Street Bridge is safe at this point.”