Calgary

Peace Bridge placed over Bow River

Calgary's new Peace Bridge has been inched into place over the Bow River.
The Peace Bridge was slowly moved into place over the Bow River from late Thursday into Friday morning. (Leighton Klassen/CBC)

Calgary’s new Peace Bridge has been inched into place over the Bow River.

Workers began moving the controversial bridge from its enclosure on the south side of the Bow at Seventh Street S.W. on Thursday, slowly sliding it across the water along rails on a temporary wood bridge.

Construction of the Santiago Calatrava-designed Peace Bridge was originally set to be complete in 2010. ((Santiago Calatrava))
The footbridge for pedestrians and bicycles west of Prince's Island Park will connect Eau Claire to Sunnyside.

"I was surprised to see it...it kind of appeared overnight," said Kerri Blare, who bikes by the site daily.

The $24.5 million bridge, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, has been very controversial.

Critics assailed its high price tag and the fact that it was a sole-sourced project.

Its installation was delayed several times, most recently when the city concluded in April that some of the welding done in Spain was sub-standard.

Cyclist Jeff Blair said the issues that have made the bridge controversial remain.

"I think it's a beautiful piece of architecture and I think $25 million for one bridge is a bit excessive. You'd probably build five other pedestrian bridges, so I'm a bit torn there."

The red tubular structure's original opening date was fall 2010. City officials now say it will be ready for use early in 2012.