Construction begins on Edmonton’s new Walterdale Bridge

EDMONTON – Construction crews are on site and work has begun on downtown Edmonton’s new $155 million Walterdale Bridge that spans the North Saskatchewan River.

“This summer, primarily the work on site is going to be digging – excavating for thrust blocks on both sides of the river – that is the support blocks to anchor the bridge arches to,” says Graham Macklin with the City of Edmonton. “In addition, we are going to be closing Queen E. Park Road, as of July 15, and the reason for that is they’re going to be starting the realignment work at the bottom of the hill on Queen E. Park Road.”

The old bridge saw rehabilitation work in the early 2000s, and after public consultation, City Council voted in April 2011 to replace the old bridge with a new signature arch structure.

“We’re very excited to get the project going,” adds Macklin. “We’ll be here for the next three or so years, and hoping to have the new bridge open by the end of 2015, and then the old bridge will come out once the new bridge is open.”

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Construction on the project officially began July 4, but pre-construction work, including tree removal and access road and berm construction, started in January 2013. Several nearby trails have been closed for several months already because of this work.

Crews are now working on foundations on both north and south sides of the river, then arches will be built on the south side of the river, and will be erected in 2014.

Construction is expected to last until late 2015.

The existing bridge will still be in service until the new bridge opens in 2016, but the project will impact traffic at various times throughout construction.

“The Walterdale Bridge will remain open to traffic throughout construction,” said Roads Design and Construction General Supervisor Allan Bartman. “However, the areas surrounding the bridge will be construction zones for the better part of the next three years. Motorists should expect delays or take other routes to get across the river, especially during summer months.”

The City suggests using the Low Level Bridge via 99 Street/Scona Road/Connors Road or the James MacDonald Bridge via 98 Avenue as detours.

Macklin estimates 33,000 vehicles a day travel through the area.

However, the City has plans in place so that nearby facilities are not affected.

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“We are making sure that the Kinsmen Sports Centre does have access the entire time, as well as the John Walter Museum.”

ETS Route 52 will detour via Scona Road and James MacDonald Bridge during construction.

Queen Elizabeth Park Road will be completely closed for road realignment from July 15 until November 2013.

Multi-use trails affected by construction on both sides of the river remain closed and detours are in effect for the remainder of the project.

For more information on pedestrian/cycling detours click here.

“The existing Walterdale Bridge has served Edmonton well for a century, but it has reached the end of its service life and must be replaced,” said Bartman. “We are very excited to culminate several years of preparation and start building the new signature bridge that will serve Edmontonians for generations.”

To take a look at the project designs, click here.

For more facts on the old and new bridges, click here.