3 designs pitched for new pedestrian bridge over Assiniboine River

Three designs unveiled for a footbridge with the potential to become a "landmark structure" in Winnipeg.

Bridge span linking Osborne to downtown could become tourist attraction, City of Winnipeg suggests

The proposed Osborne to downtown walk-bike bridge would connect McFadyen Park on Assiniboine Avenue to Fort Rouge Park on River Avenue. (City of Winnipeg)

Three designs have been unveiled for a footbridge with the potential to become a "landmark structure" in Winnipeg.

The city released drawings this week for a new pedestrian and cycling bridge over Assiniboine River connecting Osborne Village to the downtown. The span would link McFadyen Park on the north side of the river with Fort Rouge Park to the south.

"This crossing has the potential to be a landmark structure for Winnipeg," the city's website reads. "The city envisions an elegant and aesthetically pleasing, but cost effective structure."

Each of the proposed bridge spans would have dedicated space for pedestrians and cyclists, a five-metre width and adequate lighting to ensure user safety. The bridge is expected to widen in at least one spot to create a lookout point.

But the three choices differ notably in their design.

Option 1: girder bridge

The girder bridge option for the proposed Osborne to downtown walk-bike bridge would feature a shallow girder design intended to present a slender, modern look to the structure. (City of Winnipeg)
An aerial rendering of the girder bridge option. (City of Winnipeg)
  • A straight bridge crossing the river at a skew angle.
  • "This bridge features a unique shallow girder design intended to present a slender modern look to the structure," the city said on its website.
  • The cheapest of the three options. 

Option 2: cable-stayed bridge

The cable-stayed option for the proposed Osborne to downtown walk-bike bridge would be one of the few curvilinear cable-stayed bridges in North America and the first in Canada. (City of Winnipeg)
An aerial rendering of the cable-stayed bridge option. (City of Winnipeg)
  • This design could become a landmark attraction since there are few curvilinear cable-stayed bridges, where cables support the bridge deck, in North America, and this would be the first in Canada, said the city. Esplanade Riel is an example of a cable-stayed bridge, but the cables do not span the roadway. 
  • The city explained the double curved design provides a better "connection to the parks" feeling, naturally slows down travelling pedestrians and cyclists because of its curved nature and mimics the meandering rivers and streets in Winnipeg.
  • A long bench would be built along the inner curves.
  • This option is comparable in price to the suspension bridge.

Option 3: suspension bridge

The suspension bridge option for the proposed Osborne to downtown walk-bike bridge would feature two piers at each end that cables are suspended from. (City of Winnipeg)
An aerial rendering of the suspension bridge option. (City of Winnipeg)
  • Winnipeg will get its first suspension bridge if this option is chosen.
  • A straight bridge crossing the river at a skew angle.
  • The bridge would have two piers at each end from which cables are suspended. 
  • This option is comparable in price to the cable-stayed bridge.

The connection will bridge the gap between two of the city's green spaces.

To the south, Fort Rouge Park will see upgrades to three aging playgrounds and a significant improvement to the popular spray pad.

A conceptual view of the redesign for the parks that will be connected by a footbridge linking Osborne Village to the downtown. (City of Winnipeg)

The redevelopment of McFadyen Park, north of the river, is set to include an expanded playground, upgraded tennis courts and creation of a street plaza. Underutilized amenities such as a wading pool would be eliminated.

"The new bridge connection essentially creates one larger park, so residents from both sides have more options for recreation," explains the city's website.

New bike routes are also planned throughout Osborne Village.

The city will go back to the drawing board after a second round of public consultation. A survey is now available online and a public workshop will be offered on June 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at  Augustine United Church on River Avenue. People are asked to reserve their seat by June 3.

No cost estimates have been provided.

Visit the city's website for more information on the proposed development.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said that the cable-stayed bridge is the most expensive of the three bridge options. In fact, the cable-stayed bridge and suspension bridge options would be comparable in price.
    May 24, 2018 12:01 PM CT

About the Author

Ian Froese

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Ian Froese is a reporter at CBC Manitoba. He previously wrote about rural Manitoba for the Brandon Sun and the Carillon in Steinbach. Story idea? Email ian.froese@cbc.ca.

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