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'Aesthetically pleasing' 170 Street pedestrian bridge near WEM getting final touches

It may look a little like the Walterdale Bridge, white steel with a gentle arch, but the science behind the new $10 million pedestrian crossing over 170 Street is quite a bit different.

The river-valley Walterdale is of the suspension-arch variety while the new 170 Street crossing is a truss-type structure, the city's project manager explained Friday.

"(It's) called a Warren Truss structure which uses a weight-saving design concept where the top and bottom part of the truss members are connected with diagonal members to create equilateral triangles to carry the load of the bridge," said Malika Ali.

But Ali says, like the signature Walterdale, there was an effort made to make the crossing look better than the concrete and chain link structure that used to be there.

"There won't be a chain link fence, there will be a pedestrian rail on this bridge," Ali said.

"While it's not like the Walterdale Bridge, it's designed to be aesthetically pleasing and promote an openness of space so that user can enjoy the nearby surroundings."

The bridge could be seen on the side of 170 Street near 90 Avenue Friday where crews were welding the structure together. Ali didn't provide an exact date for when it will be erected but said progress is "weather dependent."

The old bridge that connected West Edmonton Mall to the West Meadowlark neighbourhood was demolished in 2018 after engineers found that the crumbling structure “posed significant risk to public safety.”

West Edmonton Mall demolished this footbridge, and appealed the city's condition to build a new one.

After some uncertainty on replacement, it was agreed that the new bridge be built south of the former site and closer to the Misericordia Hospital. WEM has agreed to pay $2 million of the cost, with the City of Edmonton paying the rest.

The city initially estimated the bridge would be complete in fall 2022, but Ali said she expects it to be open for pedestrians early next year.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Evan Kenny Top Stories

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