Nearly a year since the official opening of the new Walterdale Bridge, the City of Edmonton celebrated one of the final milestones of the project this week: the opening of the river valley trails under the bridge.
Deputy City Manager for Infrastructure Adam Laughlin, and President of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Audrey Poitras joined Mayor Don Iveson in speaking to the historical significance of the area and the original bridge, as well as the importance of reconnecting the trails, and of the uniqueness of the new signature bridge with its curved multi-use trail suspended off the east side of the bridge.
Following the speeches and photos with the descendants of the bridge's namesake John Walter, Project Manager Ryan Teplitsky offered a tour of the new trails, highlighting various features and some of the challenges faced during construction.
Underneath the bridge, passersby can find markers indicating the height that the North Saskatchewan River achieved during historical floods, the highest being the flood of 1915 which wiped out much of the burgeoning industry of the early city.
Though the old Walterdale Bridge has been removed and dismantled, many materials were kept for future art and furniture installations. The south abutment retaining wall has also been kept.
Though the majority of the work on the $155M tied-arch bridge is now complete, work remains to rebuild the trail connection to the northeast between the river and the Rossdale Water Treatment Centre, as well as the reconstruction of Queen Elizabeth Park to the southwest. Discussions on the future refurbishment and use of the nearby Rossdale Power Plant are also ongoing.
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