After much anticipation, the Sturgeon Road Bridge over Sturgeon Creek is fully completed and open to traffic.
The work was completed on Oct. 11, taking a total of 16 months to complete and coming in on budget. These projects involved the complete replacement of the bridge as well as putting in additional turning lanes onto Portage Avenue to improve current traffic flow and accommodate future traffic levels.
In addition, the plan involved upgrades to landscaping, including the cycling and walking trails within the project area.
People have been suggesting for a long period of time that there should be a better connection for cycling and walking traffic. It is great to see the active trail system now connects from Grant’s Old Mill along the river all the way to Saskatchewan Avenue. This will allow pedestrians to no longer have to cross the street. Staying active through the seasons is something we are working at improving by putting some emphasis on trail and cycle systems throughout the city.
The Sturgeon Road Bridge was constructed in 1965, spanning Sturgeon Creek to connect Ness Avenue and Portage Avenue. Years ago, a former area councillor petitioned to have trucks banned from using Moray Street, directing a lot of traffic to the Sturgeon Road Bridge. Sturgeon Road Bridge then became a north-south truck route, a public transit and school bus route, and served emergency vehicles accessing Grace Hospital. As a result, the Sturgeon Road Bridge had significant load requirements necessary to accommodate all these users.
The bridge’s concrete and steel had deteriorated over the past 45 years, due to several environmental factors, including road de-icing chemicals. In the late 1980s a structural inspection concluded that the bridge would need to be replaced to meet current loads and resulted in a maximum load restriction on the bridge of 36.5 tonnes (the approximate weight of an average-sized semi truck).
There were some repairs made in the ’90s to extend the life of the bridge, though by 2012 it had exceeded its service life and needed a long-term solution to meet the load and traffic requirements for all users. The new bridge will have a service life of approximately 75 years. To keep the bridge construction on time, PCL Construction crews erected a heated containment over the bridge to continue work during the colder months.
This is a tremendous infrastructure improvement to the area and I am proud of the results.