Calgary's 12th Street S.E. bridge closed to cars until replacement complete

If you were hoping to drive across the bridge between Inglewood and the Calgary Zoo anytime soon, you are out of luck.

St. George's Island Bridge, as it's also referred to, remains open to pedestrian traffic

As construction of a replacement bridge continues, the 12th Street S.E. bridge is now closed to vehicular traffic. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

If you were hoping to drive across the bridge between Inglewood and the Calgary Zoo anytime soon, you're out of luck.

Vehicular traffic is no longer allowed on the 12th Street S.E. bridge — also called the St. George's Island Bridge or the Zoo bridge — which connects Inglewood with the Calgary Zoo and Memorial Drive.

The condition of the century-old structure is deteriorating. It was originally built in 1908 to get people, horses and buggies across the Bow River.

Until earlier this fall, you could drive across the steel-truss bridge, but now you'll have to walk — unless you have permission to go to the zoo's administration building.

City spokesperson Emma Stevens says inspectors are keeping an eye on the bridge but its condition is worsening.

"The bridge isn't open for general use right now," Stevens said.

"We do have it gated, just for that restricted use so if you were to go, you would find some barricades and find that the bridge was closed."

Artist rendering of the 12th Street S.E. bridge replacement (City of Calgary)

Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra says it's unfortunate but until the new bridge is open, the access is really needed more by pedestrians than vehicles.

"We knew the bridge was in really bad shape," he said.

"I think we're sort of coming around to the understanding that it's in significantly worse shape than we thought."

Construction on the new $19-million bridge is underway and it is slated to open late next year.

When it does, the old bridge will be torn down.

About 8,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily, according to 2012 data, but truck traffic has been banned since the 2013 flood.

With files from Scott Dippel