Arlington Bridge replacement plan taking shape
Preliminary designs of new overpass expected by January
ITH development plans underway to replace Winnipeg’s 105-year-old Arlington Bridge, the project’s advisory committee is looking for public feedback on preliminary ideas.
“We have a good idea of what the design is going to look like,” bridge planning and operations engineer Darren Burmey said Wednesday morning near the northern base of the bridge, with the Canadian Pacific Railway yards in the background.
Based on a 2015 study of best potential crossing sites of the railyards, the new structure is proposed to be built adjacent to the current span, which will remain in service during construction, minimizing traffic disruption until the replacement is completed.
The current bridge has served as a vital north-south link since 1912, but Point Douglas Coun. Mike Pagtakhan said it needs to be replaced for a growing city with growing needs.
According to the project plans, Burmey said the new bridge will be reconfigured to accommodate “users of all abilities.”
There will be two sidewalks, two bike lanes and three traffic lanes, including turning lanes to maximize vehicle movement.
At Dufferin Avenue, at the north end of the proposed bridge, the space will be closed to traffic and a new pedestrian underpass will be installed.
Emergency response vehicles will be able to access the new bridge, something not possible now.
Burmey said preliminary designs are expected to be completed by January 2018, giving a rough estimate of mid2020 as a realistic start time for construction.
W“You might not see everything open and completed until 2023,” he added. After the preliminary designs are completed, a report will be passed to city council for approval of funds and other governmental oversight. The project must secure upwards of $300 million in funding to move forward.
Pagtakhan said a request for federal money is “very imminent,” although he didn’t elaborate further.
When pressed on the matter, Pagtakhan didn’t say whether the new bridge would signal the movement or replacement of the railyards.
“Rail replacement is really the initiative of (the Canadian Pacific Railway). If it’s a project that they’re willing to undertake, then we’ll work in partnership with them,” he said.
The location complicates design and construction, Burmey said.
“The bridge is tricky to build, as it is over the active Canadian Pacific Railway yards, and a great deal of co-ordination is required,” he said.
Questions like those related to the railways, the bridge’s structure and the use of nearby surplus land, among others, can be answered if citizens participate in the advisory committee’s outreach programs. People can attend a host of neighbourhood events outlined on the project website, winnipeg.ca/betterarlington, or complete a five-minute survey. Feedback can also be posted to social media with #betterarlington.
Regular maintenance will continue on the existing bridge.
Travel over the new bridge will undoubtedly feature a significantly more gradual grade change, eliminating the famous “Arlington Bridge bump.”
Above: Work on a replacement for the 105-year-old Arlington Street bridge would not start until 2020, engineer Darren Burmey said.
Left: An artist’s rendering of what a new Arlington Bridge could look like.