City Readies for Walterdale Bridge Construction: Part 3, Out with the Old

After years of archaeological study, public involvement, planning and design, the Walterdale Bridge replacement project takes an exciting step forward with construction beginning this spring. Leading up to construction kick-off, the City will share details of construction, its impacts and what they mean to Edmontonians.

***

The century-old Walterdale Bridge, having reached the end of its service life, will be taken down after the replacement bridge goes into operation in late 2015. While this turns a page in Edmonton’s history, the project team plans to embrace the past by salvaging portions of the old bridge for landscaping or art on the new bridge.

City Council considered preserving all or part of the current Walterdale Bridge for pedestrian and cyclist use in 2011. Because the bridge has reached the end of its service life, it would have required extensive rehabilitation to make it a safe, functional pedestrian/cyclist bridge.

In two reports to the Transportation Committee of Council—on July 12 and November 15, 2011—administration outlined the required fixes, including upgrades to the bridge deck, pier and trusses, and new railings to meet safety standards. Council chose to follow the recommendation that the old bridge be removed after the opening of the new Walterdale Bridge.

After a review by heritage planners from Sustainable Development and staff from Alberta Historic Resources Management, the Walterdale Bridge was removed from Edmonton’s Registry of Historic Resources. It is a standard through-truss bridge of its era, similar to both the High Level and Low Level bridges. These two steel truss bridges remain on the Registry of Historic Resources.

For more on the Walterdale Bridge project, go to www.edmonton.ca/WalterdaleBridge.

(963)

Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on FacebookShare on LinkedIn
 
About the Author
Kelly FitzGibbon
Kelly FitzGibbon is a communications officer with the City of Edmonton's Roads Design & Construction, working on projects like the Walterdale Bridge and Building Great Neighbourhoods.
8 Comments
  1. 4 years ago

    Although there are sound arguments for the deconstruction of the old bridge, I do find that the title “Out with the old” speaks volumes to the attitude of most Edmontonians generally towards heritage, as reflected in a quote from architect Michael Boddy’s essay:

    “With change and churn, every city loses buildings and gains them, more or less in tandem. This is not true of Edmonton—the city stands out for conspicuously destroying its finest architecture, of leveling the best and leaving the worst. In my view, this is not an accident, but a manifestation of the boomtown mentality, where visual reminders of previous booms serve as portents of the end of the current boom, and we go out of our way to get rid of the, or inflict architectural plastic surgery on them so extensive that they lose their character. ”

    I am certainly glad that old parts of the bridge are being salvaged for the new bridge or public art. In that sense, it is the recognition of the old for the new which will allow Edmontonians to celebrate our changing landscape without erasing old memories. I certainly look forward to hearing how the old is incorporated with the new in Part 4 of this series.

  2. Kelly FitzGibbon
    4 years ago

    Paul, thank you for your comments.

    The plans for reusing components of the old bridge are still in the early stages. As a functional structure, however, the current bridge has served its purpose.

    There are a number of remaining steel truss bridges across the North Saskatchewan River that serve as both river crossings and historical structures, such as the High Level and Low Level Bridges mentioned in the blog post, as well as the Dawson Bridge, which underwent extensive renovation several years ago.

    If you want more information about the Walterdale Bridge itself, our website has a great deal of information, http://www.edmonton.ca/WalterdaleBridge. If you have a specific question that is not addressed there, you can send something to us at walterdalebridge@edmonton.ca.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Featured Posts