City engineers want to move on Arlington Bridge replacement but councillor says there's no cash
Council's public works chair isn't ready to prioritize Arlington over other major projects
Winnipeg is poised to make replacing the Arlington Bridge a priority among major projects — even though the city has no money to pay for the $319-million job.
In a report to city council's public works committee, engineers with Winnipeg's public works department seek permission to begin land negotiations with CP Rail that would pave the way for a 556-metre tub-girder bridge — a series of flat spans — to replace the existing camelback structure.
The report recommends the $319-million tub-girder option over a $343-million bridge with an arch. If councillors approve the option, the city will prioritize the Arlington Bridge replacement among other major projects that are not funded, engineering manager Brad Neirinck wrote in the report to council.
"It is important to note an unplanned permanent bridge closure may occur without notice, resulting in significant traffic impacts in the area if the bridge deteriorates beyond repair or if it becomes economically impractical to repair it," Neirinck wrote.
City council public works chair Matt Allard, however, is not ready to prioritize the Arlington Bridge replacement when the city also needs to find money for other major tasks, such as extending Chief Peguis Trail to the west or widening Kenaston Boulevard.
"Saying yes to Arlington would essentially be saying no to other major infrastructure projects like Chief Peguis Trail or Kenaston or the Marion Street widening and underpass project," Allard said in an interview.
A separate report to council pegs the cost of extending Chief Peguis Trail from Main Street to Brookside Boulevard at $487 million.
The city needs help from the province and Ottawa to build major projects, Allard said. Having a design ready makes it easier to move if that money comes available, he added.