What’s up with the St. Vital Bridge ‘pipeline’?


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/11/2020 (925 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A recent email to my office asked “why is there a pipeline going across St. Vital Bridge” from Dunkirk Drive to Osborne Street?”

The question is actually a pretty good summary of the situation, which has persisted for over a year with the sidewalk on the east side of the bridge being closed due to sewer pipe repairs.  
I can provide some background prepared by City of Winnipeg water and waste staff:

• The existing Baltimore force main crossing is a 500 mm diameter steel pipe crossing the Red River along the St. Vital Bridge. The pipe is approximately 200 metres long, suspended on the underside of the east bridge structure. Built in 1988, it conveys wastewater from the combined sewer district on the north side of the Red River along Churchill Drive into the Mager sewer district on Kingston Row on the south side.

File photo by Sasha Sefter/Winnipeg Free Press The temporary bypass of the Baltimore main force sewer crossing was constructed and installed in July 2019.

• In mid-2018 the force main began to leak and was repaired. After the original repairs, the force main experienced additional leaks, requiring emergency repair.

• To protect the environment, it was determined the original force main could not be returned to service and the department moved to design and install a pipe replacement. To replace the existing force main, a temporary bypass system was designed and installed on top of the bridge, necessitating the closure of the sidewalk on the east bridge structure. The bypass system was put into place in July 2019. It is constantly monitored by water and waste department staff and has performed well since installation.

• The force main replacement is under design and it should be tendered in the winter of 2020 with installation of the new force main pipe expected in 2021.

To me, the “Baltimore Force Main Crossing” sounds like a 1960s rock band, but its function is a serious matter for residents on both sides of the Red. I look forward to seeing the sidewalk back in use in 2021.

A $46 million upgrade to the bridge is coming over the next four years, with widening to better accommodate pedestrians and cyclists and, once you get across the bridge, the City will have built new washrooms at Churchill Drive Park playground.

So, while the ‘pipeline’ is a short-term pain, things will improve in the near future for people walking, running and cycling across the St Vital Bridge.

Brian Mayes

Brian Mayes
St. Vital ward report

Brian Mayes is the city councillor for St. Vital.

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