After more than two years of construction, the new 12th Street Bridge was officially opened Saturday near the Calgary Zoo, re-establishing an important commuter link between the communities of Bridgeland and Inglewood.

Hundreds of Calgarians turned up to  cross the $26 million span, which replaced the previous bridge built in 1908, and includes a lane for foot and bike traffic.

With design standards being much different more than a century ago, the new bridge is also wider than the old one, allowing more room between vehicles going opposite directions.

"Well, if you had side mirrors on your car, you usually left them on the bridge," said area resident Joy Segouin of the old crossing. 

Michael Thompson, the city's acting general manager of transportation, says they kept mirrors in mind when constructing the new span.

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"We've changed the angle of the road so that it's got safer sight lines for vehicles coming around," he said.

"It's really designed with vehicle and pedestrian safety in mind and resiliency from a flood perspective."

The bridge was one of four City of Calgary infrastructure projects in that area unveiled Saturday.

The $35 million Zoo flood mitigation work is now complete, which saw pumps installed and a berm built around the zoo to protect it from future flooding.

Zoo Road was also raised above the 100-year flood level to provide an exit route for Inglewood residents.

Nearby Baines Bridge, which provides the final crossing from St. George's and St. Patrick's islands to the north side of the river, also received $5 million in upgrades.

With files from Terri Trembath