The city has chosen a firm to design three new pedestrian bridges over the Elbow River to replace the ones destroyed in the June flood.
Design and construction of the bridges in Elbow Park, Rideau Park and Sandy Beach is set for the spring, but it’s not known yet if all three will be completed next year.
The bridges will all have similar designs, said Mac Logan, the city's general manager of transportation and infrastructure.
“So for example if we were to use a suspension bridge, they would all be suspension bridges but each one would be unique to its location,” he said.
Unlike the old crossings, the new bridges will be fully accessible and built to withstand a once-in-a-century flood.
“The height of the deck will be the key issue, and then the distance above the river. That's going to be the real challenge, to keep it low enough that it's accessible for pedestrians and cyclists and people that have mobility issues, and we don't want it too high because we don't want to infringe on the adjacent homes,” Logan said.
“There's a lot of details like that we have to work in the design phase.”
The city estimates the bridges will cost $9 million.
The successful bidder was Delcan, an international engineering firm with an office in Calgary. A construction contractor will be selected early in 2014, the city said.
A public open house on the bridges will be held early in the new year.
Two of the bridges are in Coun. Brian Pincott's ward, who says there is a lot of community interest in how they are replaced.
“They were kind of defining bridges as well for the communities, especially for Elbow Park and Rideau Park, where having those kind of cool, swinging footbridges was something that was intrinsic to the community.”