A pedestrian bridge in that location could be an incredible asset to Saskatoon in linking together the Nutana area and downtown, similar to what Calgary has experienced with their pedestrian bridge. Â It’s a place where people want to be.
A group of Saskatoon residents who are renewing calls to rethink the future of the derelict Traffic Bridge say a new bridge shouldn’t involve vehicle traffic at all.
“Lots and lots of people have changed their minds about that bridge. We’ve lived without it for three years,” said Marcel D’Eon, one of the founders of the Saskatoon Coalition to Revisit and Reimagine Our Urban Bridge. The group, formed in June, is the latest to call for a pedestrian-and cycling-only bridge to replace the iconic 104-year old span, which was closed permanently in 2010 because of safety concerns.
During initial public consultations, a majority of residents said they wanted a pedestrian-only bridge. Despite those findings, city council pushed ahead with plans to build a $35-million replica steel truss Traffic Bridge capable of carrying vehicles as well as people and bikes.
While there is still no funding for the bridge, city officials have applied to the federal government’s P3 fund for joint Traffic Bridge and Parkway Bridge projects that have a combined value of over $230 million. The province’s portion of the cash is expected to come through the provincial government’s SaskBuilds program. Neither level of government has confirmed its support for the project.
If funding is approved, the Traffic Bridge would be complete by 2017. It would be financed under the same scheme and built by the same company as the parkway, to save around $250,000 in costs.
By bundling the construction of a new Traffic Bridge with the north parkway project, council effectively decided for the second time that the bridge would be a vehicle bridge.