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More bridge rehab set to start

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The second phase of rehabilitation work on the Osborne Street Bridge will begin on March 30.


Crews will soon be back on the bridge until late October, city officials confirmed last week.


For this phase of the $18 million project, the western portion of the bridge, including the west sidewalk, will be closed to traffic. Bridge projects engineer Darren Burmey said cyclists will need to use the street or dismount on the sidewalk.


On the east side, one lane in each direction and a switchover lane to accommodate peak traffic, as well as the east sidewalk, will be open. The work will include road rehabilitation on Osborne from River Road to Broadway.


At the north end of the bridge, the path underneath connecting the east and west sidewalks will stay open for pedestrians and cyclists, Burmey said.


Work on the bridge will extend its lifespan by up to 75 years with routine maintenance and renewal. Burmey said after an initial period of adjustment last year, bridge users adapted to the restrictions of the rehabilitation.


"I think it was a success. A lot of times with large city projects the concern is that the disruption might be more impactful. But people get used to it. I’m hoping it goes as smoothly this time," Burmey said.


The first phase of construction began in April 2011, lasted for six months and included work on the east side of the bridge and street.


One local business owner estimates he lost between 5 and 10% of business during the first phase, but is hoping for less of a loss this year, as "people should be more used to it."


"Last year, there was lots of traffic trying to avoid the area to avoid hours and hours of congestion," said Rafe Abdulla, joint-franchisee of Second Cup on Osborne Street, who lives in St. James.


"The construction is good in the long-term for Osborne Village to maintain this bridge, as we need tourists in this area."


Village resident Pat Bovey learned to adapt her schedule around the rehabilitation work last year.


"I was able to pick my time of day or my route and avoid rush hour. You learn to. I’d take either the Donald Bridge or Maryland Bridge. It’s a case of short-term pain for long-term gain," Bovey said.


In light of last year’s construction, Bike to the Future’s Gareth Simons has some concerns.


"I wish the city would cater a bit more to pedestrians and cyclists and take a little more thought to accommodate them," said Simons, who lives in the village.


"Last year, there were lots of cyclists and pedestrians sharing the sidewalk. I’d cycle on the road, but the majority of cyclists found that pretty intimidating, especially with lots of motorists all wound up on their way to work. I don’t anticipate it will be much better this year."


For more information, visit www.winnipeg.ca/publicworks/majorprojects/osbornebridge.

simon.fuller@canstarnews.com

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