As Saskatoon’s Traffic Bridge inches towards its official unveiling next month, the surrounding area is showing off its new face lift.
Victoria Avenue is ready to welcome cyclists and pedestrians as an integral link to the downtown core.
The area had been part of a rehabilitation project since 2017 as the city raced to make the street as accommodating as the new Traffic Bridge.
On Thursday the city unveiled redone sidewalks with raised bike lanes alongside them.
Acting engineering manager David LeBoutillier said the project’s completion is all part making traveling Saskatoon streets easier for every type of traffic.
“The improvements we’ve made are going to benefit people driving, walking and biking as well as area residents,” LeBoutillier said. “We’ve also improved the aesthetics to make the corridor a more pleasing place to travel and live.”
Asphalt on Victoria has been completely redone, along with the expanded sidewalks, overhauled medians and matching signage and markings.
As the city prepares for Victoria Avenue to become a busy street once again, residents in the area had a lot to do with the finished product.
“The neighbourhood’s input was incorporated into this corridor,” said LeBoutillier. “In particular, what they asked us to do was maintain the residential character of the street.”
It’s also something that can’t be duplicated across the city, according to LeBoutillier.
“It’s a little harder in existing areas to fit this kind of facility in,” he said. “It takes a little bit more engineering time and we have to respect the concerns of the community and the existing street.”
LeBoutillier said Aspen Ridge and Evergreen are the two other areas in Saskatoon that have raised bike paths.
City officials are expecting more than 7,000 vehicles to travel the road each day — the same amount when the bridge closed in 2010 — once the Traffic Bridge opens on Oct. 3.
“We expect that there’s going to be a period of adjustment as all this traffic comes back to a street that has been closed for essentially eight years.”
“We just hope looks after themselves, look out for everybody else on the street and try to stay safe.”