New Edmonton-Strathcona County pedestrian bridge poised to join list of iconic landmarks

·2 min read
An artist rendering of the Edmonton-Strathcona County Footbridge slated for construction this summer. (Submitted by River Valley Alliance - image credit)
An artist rendering of the Edmonton-Strathcona County Footbridge slated for construction this summer. (Submitted by River Valley Alliance - image credit)

The design is finalized and construction is set to begin this summer on the $41.1 million Edmonton-Strathcona County Footbridge in northeast Edmonton.

The project, which will connect 167th Avenue in Edmonton to Township Road 540 in Strathcona County, will improve connectivity to the regional trail system from Devon to Fort Saskatchewan.

A quarter of the cost for the project is being covered by the City of Edmonton, with another quarter coming from the county and half will come from the River Valley Alliance (RVA).

"This pedestrian bridge is going to be a key addition to the North Saskatchewan River Valley," says Kristine Archibald, the executive director of the not-for-profit organization in a release.

New footbridge location

Once complete, in late 2024 or early 2025, the pedestrian bridge will link local paths with the Trans Canada Trail, the longest trail network in the world.

For self professed "bridge nerd" Natalie Lazurko it's exciting times.

Lazurko, the city's director of transportation planning and design, says they already have 11 vehicle bridges over the North Saskatchewan River, seven pedestrian bridges, two LRT bridges but that's just a "drop in the bucket."

You can see more bridges in this week's edition of Our Edmonton on Saturday at 10 a.m., Sunday at noon and 11 a.m. Monday on CBC TV and CBC Gem. 

"We've got upwards of 400 bridges and major structures," she says, including overpasses, tunnels, boardwalks and culverts.

A number Lazurko thinks will surprise Edmontonains who maybe just know the bridges in their neighbourhood or along their commute.

David Bajer/CBC
David Bajer/CBC

Having surveyed all of them, Lazurko says her favourite is the Walterdale Bridge calling it an "icon signature structure."

City archivist Kathryn Ivany loves to point out things you might not know about Edmonton bridges including what the dates are on the footpath underneath the Walterdale Bridge.

"On the structure of the bridge they've identified all the major floods that have happened in Edmonton and they've drawn a line to show how high the water rose up off the river," says Ivany.

Ivany says she's torn between the High Level Bridge and the Low Level Bridge for her top pick.

City of Edmonton Archives
City of Edmonton Archives

She says the Low Level is interesting because it is the first bridge built in the community in 1900 and that is still in continuous use.

Railway tracks were added in 1902 and used by the street cars in 1908, she says.

"It was nearly destroyed by flood in 1915, incredible history and lots of adventure," says Ivany.

She says her other favourite was built in 1913 to join what were then the separate cities of Strathcona and Edmonton, literally spanning the two communities.

"The High Level Bridge is an engineering marvel," she says.

David Bajer/CBC News
David Bajer/CBC News
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