Calgary

Calgary plans to demolish aging pedestrian bridge that links Eau Claire and Prince's Island

The city is making plans to replace the Jaipur Bridge with a new span. The bridge to Prince's Island, which opened in 1968, is deteriorating.

Jaipur Bridge will be replaced by a new, wider, longer span

The Jaipur Bridge will be closed in July 2020 so it can be demolished to make way for a new pedestrian bridge. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Time is taking a toll on the Jaipur Bridge.

The pedestrian bridge that connects Eau Claire with Prince's Island opened in 1968 and was later named to honour Calgary's sister city in India.

But its condition is deteriorating due to salt moisture that has taken hold inside the structure and the city is working on the design for a replacement.

The program manager of urban strategy, Joyce Tang, said the bridge will close after the folk festival in 2020.

The plan is take down the bridge and replace it in the same spot with a new crossing that will be designed to last 100 years.

"The alignment works with where the grading is and what we have on the pathway connection on the Prince's Island side of things," said Tang.

Better bridge will meet new demands

A new bridge will be slightly longer and wider so it can accommodate emergency vehicles that might need to respond to the island. It will also be a bit higher above the flood plain so it's more resilient.

The new crossing will take a year to build. Tang said the plan is to finish it before the Calgary Folk Festival in 2021.

Maintaining access to the island and to another bridge that allows joggers and cyclists to reach the north bank of the Bow River won't be a problem. 

There's a causeway at the west end of the island and a small pedestrian bridge at Second Street S.W.

Tang said the bridge work will also tie in with the downtown flood barrier that will be built between the Peace Bridge and the Reconciliation Bridge.

Cost built into 4 year budget

Some minor work on the Second Street link will also be done but only after the new Jaipur Bridge is opened.

Tang said the budget for both the Jaipur replacement and some upgrades on the Second Street bridge is $9.6 million. 

The bridge was temporarily closed for 12 hours on both Tuesday and Wednesday this week for geotechnical drilling work. 

Tang said that work is expected to produce information that's needed for the construction of a new span.

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