Arlington Bridge could be replaced by 2024 — if city hall finds $330M

The latest design for a new span over the CPR Winnipeg Yards will be unveiled to the public at an open house slated for Thursday evening at the North Centennial Recreation and Leisure Centre.

Latest design for 550-metre span to be presented to public Thursday evening

Consulting firm Stantec's scale model of the proposed Arlington Bridge includes the existing span. It will be on display at an open house Thursday evening. (Lyza Sale/CBC)

The replacement for Winnipeg's Arlington Bridge could be completed as soon as November 2024 if city hall can cobble together $330 million worth of funding for the project.

The latest design for a new span over the CPR Winnipeg Yards will be unveiled to the public at an open house slated for 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the North Centennial Recreation and Leisure Centre (90 Sinclair St.).

The design preferred by city engineers encompasses a 550-metre bridge supported in the centre by a steel-tied arch that would rise 45 metres off the ground, City of Winnipeg bridge planning and operations engineer Darren Burmey said Wednesday in an interview at Stantec's offices.

Engineers for the consulting firm, which acted as a design consultant on the project, showed off a seven-metre-long scale model of the proposed bridge.

The approaches to the new span would be less steep than the ramps on the existing Arlington Bridge. This would allow buses to use a bridge that would rise from Logan Avenue in the south to Stella Avenue in the north, passing over Dufferin Avenue — the northern terminus of the existing 106-year-old bridge, Burmey said.

The new bridge would also be three lanes wide, rather than the current two, but would be expandable to four lanes in the event McPhillips Street is closed for construction. 

The new Arlington Bridge would be built west of the existing span, which would only need to be closed for six months under the planned construction schedule. (Lyza Sale/CBC)

The design also calls for intersection improvements at every cross street along a 1.7-kilometre stretch of Arlington Street from McDermot Avenue to Selkirk Avenue, with bike lanes running this entire distance.

​Should city hall secure federal and provincial funding for the project in 2019, it would take two years to complete a detailed design for the bridge and acquire 46 parcels of land required to complete the job, Burmey said.

Under this scenario, work on the new bridge could begin in April 2021 and wrap up in November 2024. The catch is the new Arlington Bridge is only one of several big-ticket capital projects vying for the attention of elected officials at city hall, the Manitoba Legislature and in Ottawa.

Securing $330 million in funding for the bridge next year is not a certainty, said Coun. Mike Pagtakhan, whose Point Douglas ward would be served by the new bridge.

"Not an easy thing. There are so many projects," Pagtakhan said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "We definitely want to have a discussion to ensure we can do that."
The existing Arlington Bridge was completed in 1912. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Pagtakhan said he has written to Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, MLAs representing north Winnipeg constituencies and federal MPs in an effort to secure funding for a new Arlington Bridge, whose planning he describes as "the gold standard" in terms of community engagement.

The $330-million cost estimate is $30 million higher than a preliminary figure presented to city council in 2016. But it's also more refined and includes costs associated with design and property acquisitions, Burmey said.

The new bridge is intended to last 75 years but would most likely serve the city for more than a century, he said. 

He was less certain about the name for the new span.

"That would be up to council," he said.

City of Winnipeg bridge planning and operations engineer Darren Burmey shows CBC's Bartley Kives the latest design for the proposed Arlington Bridge. 3:27

About the Author

Bartley Kives

Reporter, CBC Manitoba

Reporter Bartley Kives joined CBC Manitoba in 2016. Prior to that, he spent three years at the Winnipeg Sun and 18 at the Winnipeg Free Press, writing about politics, music, food and outdoor recreation. He's the author of the Canadian bestseller A Daytripper's Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada's Undiscovered Province and co-author of both Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg and Stuck In The Middle 2: Defining Views of Manitoba. His work has also appeared in publications such as the Guardian and Explore magazine.

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