Inglewood merchants worry bridge repairs could mean lost business

As the city plans to replace both bridges linking Inglewood to Calgary's downtown, area business owners are worried construction at the main access points to the community could hurt their bottom line.

City plans to repair 12th Street and 9th Avenue spans, both a century old

The 9th Avenue bridge connecting Inglewood to downtown Calgary is more than 100 years old and needs replacing. (Stephanie Wiebe/CBC)

As the city plans to replace both bridges linking Inglewood to Calgary's downtown, area business owners are worried construction at the main access points to the community could hurt their bottom lines.

Both the 9th Avenue bridge and the 12th Street bridge, better known as the "Zoo Bridge," are more than 100 years old.

Kevin Kent owns Knifewear and Kent of Inglewood, a men's grooming store. He's concerned about how customers will access his shops during construction.

"We might as well just put little grave stones in front of the businesses in this area," he said.

Kevin Kent owns two businesses in Inglewood. (Stephanie Wiebe/CBC)

Kent is also adamant that shop owners be part of the process as the city plans construction — and timelines.

"I definitely want to be involved in the consultation," he said. "If it gets to a point where they plan on closing my bridge for a very long time, I've got a local artist and armourer who will make some fancy chainmail so we can chain ourselves to the bridge."

Coun. ​Gian-Carlo Carra, whose Ward 9 includes Inglewood, said the city won't replace both bridges at the same time, and he knows business owners rely on the 9th Avenue bridge, in particular.

"The city is aware of that, I'm aware of that, and we're looking at any number of possibilities," Carra said. "We're not sure yet. It's a little too soon to tell."

The city will start construction on the century-old 12th Street Bridge, also known as the Zoo Bridge, in Spring 2016. (Stephanie Wiebe/CBC)

While construction on the 12th Street bridge is planned for this spring, any work on the 9th Avenue bridge is still far off.

The city expects to develop a design for the new bridge early next year, with construction taking place years later.

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