Manitoba

Bowman: Plans for new Arlington Bridge must proceed as long as railyards remain

Mayor Brian Bowman says Winnipeg has no choice but to proceed with replacing the Arlington Bridge as long as the CPR Yards remain.

With rail relocation's future uncertain, Winnipeg is poised to continue plans for a new CPR Yards crossing

An artist's conception of a new Arlington Bridge over Winnipeg's CPR Yards. (City of Winnipeg)

Mayor Brian Bowman says Winnipeg has no choice but to proceed with replacing the Arlington Bridge as long as the relocation of the CPR Yards remains up in the air.

On Wednesday, at the final city council meeting before the six-week summer break, the mayor and council will consider a plan to come up with a more detailed design — as well as a better cost estimate — for a replacement for the Arlington Bridge, which was built in 1912 and is nearing the end of its life.

Bowman said the city must proceed with the design because rail relocation, a long-term goal of the previous provincial government, remains an uncertainty.

"Right now, the fact is, the railway is there and there is a bridge whose lifespan is limited. We are going to have to make  a decision sooner, rather than later," Bowman told reporters Tuesday outside his office at city hall.

"It's unfortunate that decision wasn't made decades ago, but like many files we've inherited, we still have to make some tough calls in the coming months and years."

Brian Bowman on replacing the Arlington Bridge

5 years ago
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Mayor Brian Bowman says Winnipeg has no choice but to proceed with replacing the Arlington Bridge as long as the relocation of the CPR Yards remains up in the air. 1:30

The plan before council allows enough design work to be done to give the city a better estimate of the cost of replacing the Arlington Bridge. Right now, the city estimates a new bridge will cost just over $300 million, with $20 million worth of engineering work alone, according to the report to council.

The Selinger government, which was voted out of provincial office in April, planned to study the wholesale relocation of Winnipeg rail lines, including the CPR Yards.

Bowman said he supported the former NDP government's study because it would have provided the city with information that could be used for the purpose of long-term transportation planning.

The Pallister Progressive Conservative government has yet to say whether it will proceed with the study.

"We haven't received an indication one way or another from the new provincial government," Bowman said. "We'll be ready to play a collaborative role should they wish to continue with the rail rationalization task force."

After tomorrow's meeting, city council will be prorogued until September.

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