The City of Saskatoon released conceptual drawings of the new Traffic Bridge on Wednesday.
At an afternoon press conference, special projects manager Dan Willems explained that contractor Graham Commuter Partners (GCP) has completed the design, with a report on the financial details due before Saskatoon City Council later in October.
The bridge will feature a four-span construction, one span less than the original Traffic Bridge. It will be slightly taller and slightly wider than the original bridge, to better accommodate vehicle traffic. With 3-metre wide pathways on either side of the roadway, Willems said the new bridge will have more space for cyclists and pedestrians than any other bridge in the city. Willems noted that it will also be legal for cyclists to use the road lanes if they so choose.
Willems said the plan is to first demolish the old bridge deck, then build reinforced concrete around the old piers before using them to support the new structure.
The Traffic Bridge project is bundled with the North Commuter Parkway Bridge. After the financial details are sorted out, the next step will be for GCP to get regulatory approval from a host of agencies that will take a look at the project. Those include the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans , Transport Canada, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency and the Meewasin Valley Authority.
Depending on how long it takes to get the necessary approvals, Willems said construction could begin as early as late 2015 to early 2016. The bridge is scheduled to open to traffic in October 2018.
October 2018 is also the scheduled opening date for the North Commuter Parkway Bridge project. Willems said designs for that bridge haven’t been finalized yet.