The new Disraeli Bridge officially opened today in Winnipeg.
Dignitaries gathered at the eastbound ramp near Argyle Alternative High School at 11 a.m. and cut the ribbon for the $195-million dual-span bridge and overpass structure.
It's been three years since the province and the city first reached an agreement on funding and building the bridge, which replace the ones that spanned the Red River and the CP Rail mainline for the past 50 years.
There had initially been discussions about spending less money and doing a repair of the aging bridge, rather than a full replacement.
The decision was ultimately made to replace it, which will nearly double the lifespan of a repair.
Then came controversy over whether to shut down the old structure to traffic during construction of the new one. Businesses along Henderson Highway, at the north end of the spans opposed that plan, saying it would hurt business.
There was also some upheaval in terms of the expropriation of 18 properties to make room for the new bridge.
During the past year, drivers have been able to go across portions of the new bridge but they still linked up with older sections.
Friday's officially opening marks the first time the entire structure is open fully to traffic.
October 2009: Province and city agree to spend $195 million to replace the dual span structure.
January 2011: Start of bridge construction over river.
March 2011: Start of construction of overpass across CP Rail mainline.
October 2012: New bridge and overpass open to traffic. Start of demolition of old bridge and begin construction of active transportation (pedestrian) bridge.
August 2013: Active transportation bridge opens and landscaping completed.
For more information about the Disraeli Bridges Project, call 311 or visit Winnipeg.ca and click on the Disraeli Bridges icon.