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Condition of Winnipeg Bridges Questioned

Monday, March 5, 2018

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A recent review of Winnipeg’s bridges revealed that four vehicular spans are in “poor” condition—among them the 106-year-old Arlington Bridge, which reportedly shakes as drivers pass over it.

Despite bridge preservation efforts, which include a weight restriction mandate passed in the 1960s and minor rehabilitation in the 1990s, Winnipeg officials have acknowledged that the span is reaching the end of its usable life. In the meantime, the Arlington is still labeled safe.

Darren Burmey, the city’s Bridge Planning and Operations Engineer, told Global News that if “it’s an absolute safety thing” the bridge is closed down and repairs are completed.

Bridge Inspections

According to the report, obtained by Global News and conducted by a two-person team in November, 42 vehicular bridges are considered to be in “good” condition, 19 considered fair and four poor.

The investigation included the inspection of 285 elements, with the highest score a nine (excellent), the lowest a one (poor). For the Arlington, the highest element rating was a five, with notes detailing that steel decking is rusted through and the coating is cracked and peeling, accompanied by deteriorating concrete and rotten 4-by-4s. University of Manitoba Department of Civil Engineering assistant professor Young-Jin Cha pointed out what he dubbed “severe corrosion” and “major cracks” in the bridge, noting that the main steel member of the Arlington was one of the cracked elements.

Despite repairs that are supposed to keep the Arlington in working order, necessary changes are reportedly not being made: the bridge’s steel columns and bearing lines dropped from a score of four to three between inspections.

Burmey noted that rehabilitating the bridge would be a major undertaking that would entail replacing much of the structure.

Necessary fixes are still carried out, but replacing the bridge in its entirety is on the table, a project that would cost CA$330 million ($255.9 million) and take until 2024 at the earliest.

Bridge Replacement Plans

According to CBC News, the bridge replacement design currently favored most by city engineers is a 550-meter-long (1804-foot) span supported in the center by a steel tied arch that would rise 45 meters (147 feet) off the ground. The replacement would also feature less steep approaches and intersection improvements. Bike lanes would also run the entire length of the bridge.

Work on the new Arlington could begin in 2021 and be completed by 2024, but funding remains an issue.

The current Arlington Bridge was only intended to last 75 years, noted CBC News.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Infrastructure; Inspection; Transportation

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