Arty new Osborne Street Bridge reopens


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THE latest version of the Osborne Street Bridge, officially reopened on Friday, uses public art to tell the history of the bridge and the neighbourhoods on either side.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/10/2012 (3877 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THE latest version of the Osborne Street Bridge, officially reopened on Friday, uses public art to tell the history of the bridge and the neighbourhoods on either side.

On each end of the bridge there are panels that depict nearby landmarks such as the Granite Curling Club and Osborne Village, artist Karen Shanski said.

“It’s sort of a memory walk,” Shanski said.

She and Eduardo Aquino came up with the idea, called From Here Until Now, with help from community organizations and the Winnipeg Arts Council.

Other components of the project include integrating a map of the neighbourhood into the sidewalk, using concrete stones and stainless-steel trimming, and LED lighting with inscribed text along the bridge’s handrails.

The $16.8-million bridge renewal, which began in spring 2011, was finished on time and on budget, Premier Greg Selinger and Mayor Sam Katz said.

The province spent $7.2 million on the refurbishment, intended to extend the life of the bridge by 75 years. About 42,000 vehicles use it each weekday.

Additional features include a separate lane for cyclists that leads from the bridge to Assiniboine Avenue and Winnipeg’s first dedicated bike signal.

Darren Burmey, bridge projects engineer for the city, said when activated, a red light will stop traffic, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to cross at Assiniboine Avenue. The light is sequenced with the traffic signal at Osborne Street and Broadway to avoid traffic tie-ups, he said.

The bridge includes dedicated bike lanes, but cyclists are warned that those lanes merge with traffic at either end. Burmey said the city is aware of the potential for confusion caused by the disappearing bike lanes. Signage to warn cyclists may be installed and the city is considering acquiring property on either end of the bridge to extend and widen the bike lanes.


Span across river built in 1881-82

THE Osborne Street Bridge is named after Lt.-Col. William Osborne Smith.

Smith came to Manitoba in 1872 and became deputy adjutant general for Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. In 1874, he was founding president of the Manitoba Club and in 1879 was a founding member of the Manitoba Historical Society.

In the same year, Fort Osborne Barracks, named after him, was established on the site of the Manitoba Legislative Building. Smith resigned his post in 1881 and ran several times for the House of Commons. During the North West Rebellion in 1885, he raised the Winnipeg Light Infantry, later known as the 91st Battalion. He died in May 1887 in Wales.

The first bridge was built in 1881-82 to open up the south side of the Assiniboine River to residential development. By 1884, the bridge needed to be reinforced because of ice damage. A later, more modern version of the bridge was built of steel and harmonzied with the new legislative building, which opened in 1920.


sources: Winnipeg Free Press archives,

Manitoba Historical Society

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