One Winnipeg city councillor wants the city to replace the Arlington Street Bridge and fast.
Point Douglas Coun. Mike Pagtakhan said the city’s 2011 engineering report rated the 101-year-old bridge as mostly adequate or poor and detailed many areas that are rusted or corroded.
"I think it’s high time we do something about it," said Pagtakhan.
"I’m sort of flagging it as a safety concern and like I say, it is an important corridor."
The bridge connects Winnipeg’s downtown and the North End and sees major traffic daily.
Pagtakhan said the report recommends the bridge be replaced by 2020, and he wants to see the city move quickly to replace it before that time comes.
"I don’t want to have a problem like we did this past summer with the civic parkade where all of a sudden it got shut down," said Pagtakhan.
Pagtakhan worries if the bridge is suddenly decommissioned, it could mean it wouldn’t be replaced, and the bridge serves as a critical link for the North End.
He wants to see the city completely replace the bridge before that happens.
"I’d like to see a new bridge similar to the Salter Bridge or better," said Pagtakhan.
Not everyone thinks the bridge should be replaced, though.
Winnipegger Christian Cassidy writes the online blog West End Dumplings and said he knows the history of the bridge well and it should be preserved.
He said he understands aging structures can pose safety concerns, but he thinks the bridge can be saved.
"There are bridges like this around the world that are still going strong," said Cassidy.
"It’s not uncommon."
He said the bridge could be put to better use if it can’t be saved for vehicle traffic.
"I’d like to see it kept as maybe a pedestrian way, a walkway," said Cassidy.
Pagtakhan said he has spoken to the city’s engineers and was told the bridge is safe.
"They say it’s still drivable; there isn’t a need to sort of worry. I would say, ‘But I don’t want to take any chances,’" he said.
The city is currently in the process of writing a report on the bridge that will be presented to city council for review.