What began in 2009 as a design competition attracting over 30 international concepts for a new pedestrian bridge connecting East Village to Bridgeland, and which engaged thousands of Calgarians to share their support for, took a final step toward construction completion with the arrival of prefabricated steel arches which will form the graceful spans of the new St. Patrick’s Island Bridge.
In September 2012, construction crews began work on the skipping stone inspired pedestrian bridge imagined by RFR Halsall, by putting in place temporary berms, extending into the Bow River from the north and south banks, to support the base and bridge deck structure. Since that time, ADF Group Inc. of Montreal, the steel fabricator charged with building the span sections, have been busy fabricating the various sections of each arch.
Arch sections vary in size and weight, registering lengths of 16 metres to 20 metres and weighing between 70,000 kg and 200,000 kg. Arches are being shipped across Canada to Calgary, via road transportation, where they will be welded together on site with the use of a 250 tonne crane.
“We are starting with the fabrication of the centre arches which are approximately 32 metres long by 4 metres high. Afterwards, we will move to construct the north arches which are 49 metres long by 7.5 metres high and will finish with the south arches which are the largest at 99 metres long by 16 metres high”, said Michael Brown, president and CEO, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC). “We expect to finish the on-site arch assembly in October, 2013”.
Coincident with the steel arch assembly, the concrete deck will be poured and tensioned. Once steel arch assembly and concrete curing is completed in the fall, the bridge cables will be connected and the final steel painting carried out.
The new St. Patrick’s Island Bridge is scheduled to be opened, as planned, by year end. The bridge, which will extend from East Village to Bridgeland, landing on St. Patrick’s Island, will be an important pedestrian connector to and from East Village. It replaces an existing bridge near the west end of St. Patrick’s Island which does not currently offer a direct connection to the north bank of the Bow River. The existing bridge will be removed in May; its wooden bridge deck will be repurposed and all metal and concrete will be recycled.