Traffic Bridge opens to vehicles this morning
Chief Chief Mistawasis Bridge opens for traffic
Saskatoon's two new bridges are officially open.
Opening ceremonies were held at both the Traffic Bridge and the Chief Mistawasis Bridge Tuesday.
"People have been waiting so long to get back across this bridge again," said Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark as he walked among the crowd on the Traffic Bridge. "To reconnect the two side of the river on the oldest crossing that we have for traffic is very exciting."
It is estimated more than 20,000 vehicles per day will use the Traffic Bridge within the first year of operation.
The Traffic Bridge opens to vehicles Wednesday while the Chief Mistawasis Bridge opens to traffic late Tuesday.
Festivities at Chief Mistawasis Bridge included a grand entry with local Indigenous leaders, dignitaries, elders, survivors and students and an opportunity for people to explore the bridge deck.
"The naming of Chief Mistawasis Bridge provides a lasting legacy of hope and reconciliation for the community and a source of great pride for our children and generations to come," says Anthony Blair Dreaver Johnston, University of Saskatchewan School of Environment and Sustainability Indigenous Mentor and great-great-great grandson of Chief Mistawasis.
Christopher Ochuschayoo and Connor Johnstone were part of a group of young people that took part in a 120 kilometre sacred lance run from the First Nation the bridge is named after to the bridge.
"We sacrificed our bodies not only for ourselves but for everybody in the community," says Christopher of their trek that was a healing journey to ensure the bridge is a symbol of peace, friendship and reconciliation.
"It is kind of like sending messages, sending prayers," Christopher says."We sent prayers for everybody while we were running."
Saskatoon resident Cathy Baerg couldn't wait to come out and see the Chief Mistawasis Bridge Tuesday morning.
"I was really impressed that there is a lookout point and sidewalks that people can walk on," Baerg said. "We are going to have this fantastic view."
The two bridges and roadways cost about $250 million and were funded by three levels of government.