102 Avenue bridge girders safe enough for traffic on Groat Road
Expect more periodic closures over the next few weeks
After weeks of detours and traffic jams, the city is finally ready to reopen Groat Road.
The road has been deemed safe enough for traffic again after crews secured the girders on the 102 Avenue bridge.
The road will reopen Tuesday at 6 a.m. from 107 Avenue to River Valley Road. Related parking restrictions will be lifted over the course of the day as well.
The city closed the road on March 13 to begin installing the girders for the $32-million bridge replacement project. At about 2:15 a.m. Monday March 16, something went wrong and four girders buckled. Since then, Groat Road, a vital commuter road connecting north Edmonton with the university area and Hawrelak Park, has been closed.
In 2013, about 39,000 vehicles used the road each weekday.
The city says crews have been working tirelessly to make it safe again. They began by taking the weight off each girder, and used the elasticity of the steel to straighten each one.
They have since secured each straightened girder in place, and are confident commuters can safely use the road below.
Once Groat Road is reopened to drivers, the city will begin to think about how to finish the construction of the bridge.
Each girder will need to be tested, and the city will decide if the buckled girders will be used in the final bridge construction or if new ones will need to be brought in.
Engineers will also investigate why the girders buckled in the first place.
City officials said periodic Groat Road closures could happen again over the next few weeks as crews inspect and construct the 102 Avenue Bridge.
The cost of the delay caused by the buckled girders will be substantial, but city officials said it will be paid for by the contractor.