Edmonton

Buckled bridge girders over Groat Road begin to straighten

Those in Edmonton who have been closely watching the drama over the 102nd Avenue Bridge got a beam of hope this afternoon. The badly buckled girders have started to slowly straighten.

The big question on many minds is, can the girders be saved?

The girders have straightened slightly since crews began to lift them using a large crane. This image shows the difference over a fifteen minute time span. (City of Edmonton)

Those in Edmonton who have been closely watching the drama over the 102nd Avenue Bridge got a beam of hope this afternoon. The badly buckled girders have started to slowly straighten.

This morning, the city began slowly lifting them using a crane. The hope was once the weight is taken off the girders, they would return to their original shape.

Which the girders have started to do. Very slowly. 

 Barry Belcourt, the city's road design and construction manager, said steel is elastic, but the process is slow. Engineers are measuring the difference in millimetres.

“It’s like a snail moving,” he said.

“To see positive movement within the first half day is very positive.”

If crews are able to straighten all four buckled girders and reattached them to the bridge structure, Groat Road could reopen as early as Monday.

If the girders don’t straighten out, the city will work towards its original plan, which calls for Groat Road to reopen by April 7.

Belcourt said the city’s first priority is to get the road reopened. After that, they will turn their attention toward the bridge.

He said there are several options for rebuilding the bridge, either with new girders or the existing ones, but nothing will be done to jeopardize the quality of the finished product. 

“We’re building a bridge for the next hundred years,” he said. “We’re only going to accept what we’re paying for.”

Belcourt said if the repair requires new girders, the bridge's opening will be delayed for a year.

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