Holes in pavement close Louise Bridge walkway
City councillor, MLA call for bridge to be replaced
City and provincial politicians for the Elmwood and East Kildonan neighbourhoods say it's time to replace the Louise Bridge after holes in the pedestrian walkway were discovered this weekend.
The city has placed barricades closing off the sidewalk on the west side of the Louise Bridge after two small holes were discovered in the pavement.
Elmwood MLA Jim Maloway and Coun. Jason Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan) say engineers have said the bridge, which was built in 1881 and upgraded to its current structure in 1910, has outlived its usefulness.
"How long can you go doing regular repairs, not just to the concrete and pavement, but welding to the steel structure of the bridge?" said Schreyer, adding that the bridge is often closed completely while repairs are made.
With the pending closure of the Concordia Hospital emergency room, the Louise Bridge — which spans the Red River connecting Stadacona Street in Elmwood with Higgins Avenue in Point Douglas — will become an important route for patients to get to St. Boniface Hospital, Shreyer says.
It isn't the only bridge in the area in need of replacement, Maloway adds.
"The Redwood Bridge is actually the oldest bridge in Winnipeg, even older than this," he said.
In 2012, the city opened the newly rebuilt Disraeli Bridge, which was only 50 years old when the city replaced it. Maloway questions why his area of the city has to live with outdated infrastructure.
"I don't see this in Charleswood, in south Winnipeg," Maloway said. "I see brand new structures over there."
The City of Winnipeg has a large infrastructure deficit and many important infrastructure projects vying for funding, including the widening of Kenaston Boulevard and the replacement of the Arlington Bridge, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman told reporters on Monday.
"There's no shortage of infrastructure investments that are all incredibly important as we chip away at our infrastructure deficit, but we have to do that within our ability to pay. We can't afford them all and we have to do it within a debt ceiling," he said.
The city says crews will be dispatched to inspect the bridge to determine what repairs are required.
With files from Meaghan Ketcheson