Temporary Inglewood bridge will have no room for pedestrians

Replacing a century-old bridge at the west entrance to Inglewood in Calgary will involve a temporary substitute that is decidedly pedestrian-unfriendly.

Walkers, runners and cyclists to detour as $23M replacement span built over Elbow River

An artist rendering of the new Ninth Avenue bridge. A temporary crossing will be erected just to the south during construction. (City of Calgary)

Replacing a century-old bridge at the west entrance to Inglewood in Calgary will involve a temporary substitute that is decidedly pedestrian-unfriendly.        

The temporary bridge will be put in place later this year so traffic can still flow while the original structure is removed and its $23-million replacement is built.

But the short-term span just south of the existing bridge won't have any sidewalks. So pedestrians will have head over to the Elbow River Traverse just north of Ninth Avenue S.E., or use the MacDonald Avenue crossing to the south.

The red arrow indicates roughly where the temporary crossing will be placed while crews build the new Ninth Avenue S.E. bridge. Pedestrians will be detoured north to the Elbow River Traverse, or south to the MacDonald Avenue bridge, not pictured. (Google Maps)

The plan is already upsetting some people in the area.

Erin Loader, manager of Bricks Wine Company on Ninth Avenue, right across from the Inglewood Bridge, says she worries the project will keep people away.

"We are a little bit nervous for, say, our wine club members that come from the core into Inglewood," she said.

Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra says construction of the new, four-lane crossing — which will have a section for pedestrians — will be worth all the trouble.

"It's a pain, it really is, but you know, we're making moves that will stand the test of time for well over a century. And a couple years of discomfort, as long as we're thoughtful about that, is the price to pay," said the Ward 9 representative.

Pedestrians will still be able to cross the Elbow River to and from Inglewood using this bridge just to the north of Ninth Avenue. (Carla Beynon/CBC)

He said the sculpture garden just east of the existing bridge will be severely impacted, several mature poplars will have to be cut down, and the Seventh Street under-crossing of the railway tracks — which had been slated to close in any case — will also be shut.

Loader says all she can do is make sure customers know how to find her store when construction gets underway.

The new Ninth Avenue bridge is expected to open in the fall of 2020 or in early 2021.

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