Walterdale Bridge approaches end of its lifespan

The Walterdale Bridge spans more than 100 years of Edmonton's history, but like Fort Edmonton before it, is just a footnote in the long history of the crossing.

Demolition of 103-year-old bridge will be complete by the end of the year

The 103-year-old Walterdale bridge is now being dismantled and has earned a place in history. 1:42

The Walterdale Bridge is nearing the end of its lifespan.

By the end of the year, the new bridge will stand alone, with little trace of the 103-year-old bridge which began as part of the amalgamation deal when Strathcona joined Edmonton.

The history of the bridge begins long before the steel or concrete was hauled down the river banks, said city archivist Kathryn Ivany.

"This has always been a river crossing" Ivany said. "This is a natural ford in the river. It had been used by Indigenous people for thousands of years.

"Both banks had been used as a gathering place and which is why Fort Edmonton actually situated itself near here."

When entrepreneur John Walter left the Hudson's Bay Company in the 1890s he started a ferry service on the site.

In 1914, the bridge replaced Walter's ferry, which could only operate in the summer months when the river was free from ice.

There were 50,000 people were living in the area at that point as the city was growing rapidly.

The metal cantilever bridge, which consists of three spans each 71 meters long, was seen as an alternative to the High Level Bridge which was also under construction at the time.

City officials are expected to reveal the details of the demolition Friday.