9 Avenue S.E. Bridge replacement project
Project update - February 28, 2022
Bridge open for vehicle traffic
The remaining steel installation and concrete bridge deck work has been completed, and the new 9 Avenue S.E. bridge has officially opened to vehicle traffic as of Monday, February 28.
The bridge will initially open with one lane in each direction and will provide a similar level of service to the temporary bridge. Two additional lanes will be opened later this spring.
Construction will continue on-site over the coming months to prepare the bridge’s north and south multi-use pathways to open for cyclists and pedestrians in spring 2022. Additional priorities through the spring also include final landscaping and removal of the temporary bridge.
The anticipated final completion of this project is spring 2022.
Over the past year, crews made significant progress on the bridge and surrounding area, despite challenges with steel supply that delayed progress on the structure.
During spring and summer 2021, crews completed required work in the area surrounding the bridge, to prepare the site for installation of the new structure. While technical challenges led to delays, all roadway and pathway work planned for 2021 has been completed.
Behind the scenes, a top priority throughout the summer was fabricating steel components – such as the large arch pieces – for the new bridge.
Landscaping and minor remaining road and pathway work will be completed in 2022 upon removal of the temporary bridge.
The anticipated final completion of this project is scheduled for Spring 2022.
Updates will be shared as work progresses on this project. Thank you for your patience during the construction period.
Construction is dependent on weather and site conditions. Although updates will be provided regularly, dates may change.
East Elbow river pathway re-opened
The east Elbow river pathway under the Canadian Pacific (CP) tracks was temporarily closed to accommodate construction of the CP Rail bridge. With construction of the CP Rail bridge complete, the East Elbow river pathway under the CP Rail tracks has been paved and restored, and is now officially re-opened for people walking and wheeling.
Pedestrian access and pathway information
While pedestrian access remains open, some detours are in place to accommodate construction of the 9 Avenue S.E. bridge and other projects taking place in the Inglewood-Ramsay area,
What are the walking and cycling detours?
To cross the Elbow River, use the Elbow River Traverse pedestrian bridge, just north of the existing bridge, or the MacDonald Avenue bridge, just south of the existing bridge.
For more information, view the pathway detour map.
When will the west Elbow River pathway be re-opened?
The west Elbow River pathway along 7 St. S.E. will be re-opened for pedestrians and cyclists once construction of the 9 Avenue S.E. bridge is complete in spring 2022.
7 St. S.E.
7 St. S.E. and the west Elbow River pathway, from 9 Ave. to MacDonald Ave. S.E, was closed on April 8, 2019, to accommodate construction as part of the 9 Ave. S.E. Bridge replacement project.
Following completion of this project, 7 St. S.E. will remain permanently closed. The West Elbow River pathway along 7 St. S.E. will be re-opened for pedestrians and cyclists once construction is complete.
This decision has been made based on a thorough review of the area by The City, including consideration of the Beltline Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) and CMLC’s Rivers District Master Plan, which support closing 7 St. S.E. to vehicle traffic to enhance the safety and experience of those who walk and wheel along this route.
Community and business access for all modes of travel will continue to be available as outlined in this map:
Commemorating the old 9 Avenue S.E. bridge
We’re commemorating the 110-year-old bridge in a number of ways, to make sure its presence and history are part of the new bridge’s design and remain part of the surrounding historical communities:
- Install four historical images of the old bridge along the pathway’s barriers
- Erect an information kiosk, that provides insight to the bridge’s beginnings and long history
- Use the old pedestrian railings within the newly designed and opened Mills Park, farther east on 9 Ave. S.E.
- Store pieces of the old bridge arch for future use in other creative projects and initiatives
The original 'Inglewood' community sign, including the black goose, will be relocated east to the newly landscaped Outwest Park. It will be supported with material from the old bridge and be placed among the sculptures in the garden, where it will continue to welcome people into the community.
Capture to preserve the 9 Avenue S.E. bridge
As part of a University of Calgary project, the 9 Ave. S.E. bridge has been digitally preserved alongside other heritage resources in the province. Using terrestrial laser scanning, the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology created an interactive, digital model of the bridge, allowing it to be explored from every angle.
Visit Capture to Preserve for a look at the bridge and other historical locations in Alberta.
Construction on a new bridge begins in 2019. The new bridge will continue to connect citizens and visitors over the Elbow River for another 100 years:
- Adds cycling and pedestrian pathways on both north and south sides
- Supports transit improvements in the area
- Includes a fourth vehicle lane so it can accommodate traffic flow for the next 100 years, including a possible HOV and/or Transit lane.
- Ensures a safe emergency route across the Elbow River
- Meets current design standards and guidelines
- Improves flood resiliency - 1:100 year flood
- Reduces maintenance Incorporates an historical/commemorative component to recognize the old bridge design
In partnership with the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), The City of Calgary is replacing the 9 Avenue S.E. bridge over the Elbow River because it has reached the end of its original lifespan. The aging bridge also has a reduced load carrying capacity, does not meet current design and engineering standards, and requires increased costs to maintain it.
Since 1909, the 9 Avenue S.E. bridge has connected citizens with the historic Inglewood and Ramsay communities, Calgary's growing city centre, and today's developing East Victoria Park and East Village. The bridge was originally built to accommodate the new street car system. Today, the bridge is used by a high volume of people walking, cycling and driving.
Frequently asked questions
Removing the existing 9 Avenue S.E. bridge
- We're removing the bridge in pieces
- We will begin with the sidewalks and then begin removing pieces from the top of the bridge to the bottom
- We can't remove it all at once, like we did with the 12 Street S.E. bridge because there is not enough space and there are too many overhead utilities
- Use pieces as part of the bridge heritage interpretation plan design
- Relocate pieces to the newly designed and opened Mills Park in Inglewood
- Keep pieces in storage for future use with other creative projects or initiatives
- Recycle unusable pieces
- Crews will begin building the new bridge in fall 2019, once the current bridge is removed
- The new bridge is scheduled to open in mid 2021
General project questions
An adjustment to the opening date was made in winter 2020 based on a delay in obtaining required steel components for the bridge from our original supplier. The City is now working with a new supplier who has completed manufacturing the steel components.
Due to the complex nature of the bridge, the project team faced some technical challenges in early 2021 which led to a delay in construction. As the quality and safety of the bridge structure is The City’s top priority, additional time was needed to resolve these technical challenges.
Yes. A temporary bridge- one eastbound lane and one westbound lane- will be in place over the Elbow River, between the existing bridge and the CPR bridge. People driving will use this bridge to access downtown, East Village, Inglewood and Ramsay. It also allows public transit to continue operating.
To cross the Elbow River, people will use the pedestrian bridge, just north of the existing bridge, and MacDonald Bridge, just south of the existing bridge. Once the contractor is hired, we'll know how much space is available in the area and will confirm the north-south detour routes around the construction zone.
The new bridge will have a multi-use pathway on the north and south sides of the bridge. These pathways will be wider than the sidewalks on the existing bridge and connect to the nearby pathway system.
The new 9 Avenue S.E. bridge design includes four vehicle lanes. It was important the bridge was designed for the next 100 years, which meant accommodating space for an extra lane, in case it's required in the future. The City is reviewing the best use for the fourth lane; options could include a dedicated HOV and/or Transit lane. If a fourth lane is not immediately required, temporary measures could be put in place.
Regardless of the number of vehicle lanes on the bridge, the lanes must transition to the number of vehicle lanes and their respective use on 9 Avenue S.E., east of the bridge.
A temporary closure of 7 St. S.E. and adjacent pathways has been in place since April 2019 to accommodate construction of the 9 Ave. S.E. bridge. Following completion of the project, a decision has been made by The City to permanently close 7 St. S.E. to vehicle traffic, from 9 Ave. S.E. to MacDonald Ave. S.E. The West Elbow River pathway along 7 St. S.E. will be re-opened for pedestrians and cyclists once construction is complete.
This decision has been made based on a thorough review of the area by The City, including consideration of two planning policy documents that propose removing vehicle traffic from 7 St. S.E. (CMLC Rivers District Master Plan & Beltline Area Redevelopment Plan}. The change will enhance the safety and experience of people using current and future pathways in the area.
Yes. We review each tree to determine whether it can be relocated, reused, or should be removed. The trees in this area are either too old or large to move, or decaying. Particularly, the Elm trees in Sculpture Park were found to be suffering from European Elm Scale.
Yes, each tree we remove is assessed a dollar value. The total value determines the number of trees that the project team can replant after the project is completed. We'll always plant the replacement trees and greenery in the closest suitable location to the impacted area.
The goal is to make sure the ecological health of the area around the bridge and river is restored. It may mean planting more trees and increasing the types of trees. Sometimes it may mean planting other types of vegetation that can better integrate with the native species and the Elbow River bank.
Within Sculpture Park, we'll ensure the statues are restored and trees are replanted. There may be an opportunity to increase the diversity of the trees in the park. The other restoration areas are closer to the Elbow River bank, which will improve what currently exists. In addition to planting new trees and greenery, we'll use remains of the removed trees to build up fish and wildlife habitat areas.
You'll see trees being removed weeks ahead of construction beginning, to avoid birds nesting in the existing trees. If we were to wait until closer to construction, there would be a risk of disrupting this important part of a bird’s life cycle. Removing trees before nesting begins, ensures fewer delays to replacing the bridge.
$25.1 million (shared by the Province of Alberta and CMLC)
If you have questions about replacing the 9 Avenue S.E. bridge please contact 311.
- Remove trees to prepare the construction zone: COMPLETED
- Hire contractor: COMPLETED
- Close 7 St S.E.: COMPLETED
- Begin building temporary vehicle bridge: COMPLETED
- Open temporary vehicle bridge (vehicle access over Elbow River during construction): summer 2019 COMPLETED
- Remove existing bridge: fall 2019: COMPLETED
- Construct new bridge: spring 2022
- Landscaping (includes replanting trees), refurbish Sculpture Park, install commemoration pieces and Inglewood sign: spring 2022
*Construction is dependent on weather, site conditions and timing of other projects in the neighbourhood. Updates will be provided regularly, but dates may change.
Pathway Detour Maps
(Click to view larger image)
(Click to see larger image)