Edmonton

Buckled girders nearly straight, lead to Groat Road reopening

After unexpected twists and turns, crews are preparing to end the drama over the 102nd Avenue Bridge.

Groat Road to reopen by April 7

The city's road design and construction manager, Barry Belcourt, explains what will happen if the buckled girders bend again. 0:34

After unexpected twists and turns, crews are preparing to end the drama over the 102nd Avenue bridge.

Engineers spent the last week straightening the girders, which buckled shortly after installation on March 16.

Now they are planning to install the seventh and final girder, which should allow the city to reopen Groat Road by April 7.

“That would solidify the whole thing, [make it] self supporting,” said Barry Belcourt, the city's road design and construction manager.

“This is the fastest and safest way to get Groat Road open.”

Belcourt initially said popular commuter route could reopen as early as Monday, but the work went slower than expected.

“The question was, 'What’s best case scenario?' It wasn’t probably what reality was,” he said Friday.

Once the structure is deemed safe enough to allow traffic on Groat Road, the city will try to figure out what caused the steel to shift and what will be done about the bridge itself.

The buckled girders will be studied to see if they need to be repaired or replaced, which could take months.

Belcourt said the girders will be reused only if engineers know for sure they won’t shift again.

“One thing I will guarantee, we’re going to guarantee safety.”

The cost of straightening the girders and repairing the bridge will be paid by the contractor, not the city, he said.

Groat Road may be closed periodically on evenings and weekends once bridge construction resumes.

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