Local representatives are mulling a plan to replace pedestrian bridges across the city following a report to city council that recommends replacing one bridge each year at a total cost of just over $2 million.
The report was presented at city council’s executive committee meeting Tuesday, and outlines a plan to replace the eight pedestrian bridges, starting with the Sliding Hill Bridge at Little Red River Park. That bridge was demolished in 2013 following severe flooding in the area which damaged the structure and caused erosion to the embankment.
The report from city administration recommends replacing the bridges with pre-fabricated steel structures, designed to go across river or storm channels in case of high waters. The estimated costs for each new bridge varies between $200,000 and $330,000.
Nykol Miller, capital projects manager with the city said many of the pedestrian bridges are over 40 years old and in poor shape.
“Currently, pedestrian bridges in the city provide pedestrian connectivity between the trails built at the Little Red, Rotary Trail, and secondary trails throughout the Carlton Park and Crescent Acres area,” Miller told paNOW. “They’re utilized for walking, hiking, running, biking, skiing and to provide access for students to get to school … and deterioration of the bridges is something that we’re trying to prevent.”
According to the report, all bridges in Little Red River Park are slated for replacement including the Swinging Bridge, followed by the Sports Council Bridge, and the Lions Gate Bridge. Following those replacements, the city would then look to the Grey Owl –Sanderson Crescent Bridge, the Woodman Crescent Bridge and the Helme Crescent Bridge.
The bridge in Prime Ministers’ Park was also demolished in 2017, and is slated to be replaced in the last year of the program. With the bridge in Prime Ministers' Park already gone, some on council questioned why the Prime Ministers’ Bridge should be replaced at all, given that it would take several years to get the work done.
Mayor Greg Dionne said he wouldn’t support the idea Tuesday because administration didn’t come up with other options for replacement of the bridges. Dionne suggested dirt trails and culverts could be a cheaper alternative.
Wes Hicks, director of public works, said the idea was possible, but could slow up water flow during weather events, possibly leading to localized flooding in some neighbourhoods. Councillors will consider the bridge replacement list and the funding details during their upcoming budget deliberations.
Editor's Note: This story was updated at 3:36 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 to correct an error regarding the location of the bridge in Prime Ministers' Park.
On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt
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