Changes are coming in the next few years to the river valley, as the city plans to expand the LRT into southeast Edmonton, designs for the bridge that could span the North Saskatchewan River have been released.

A first look at the preferred design for a new LRT bridge was released earlier this week, as part of a report put before the LRT Governance Council Tuesday.

The report recommended one of eight possible designs to City Council – the option dubbed the Extradosed Bridge.

“Fifty percent wanted a very simple, understated structure, and the other did want something a little grander and more iconic,” Project Manager Nat Alampi said. “So we feel that the Extradosed Bridge does strike a balance between those competing themes.”

The design features a single tower about 20 to 25 metres high, with the LRT bridge deck held in place by cables and an integrated pedestrian bridge underneath.

It’s a design at least one councillor supports – Ben Henderson’s ward would be directly connected to the downtown by that bridge, he likes the design because it’s visually pleasing, but doesn’t overwhelm its natural surroundings.

“It’s going to be our last chance to build a bridge in that part of the city for a long time,” Henderson said.

“It has some imagination to it, without being hugely intrusive or invasive and I think that’s a good balance.”

However, due to the stability of the riverbank, the construction of that bridge will come at the cost of the standing Cloverdale pedestrian bridge

It’s believed thousands cross the pedestrian bridge each day – they’ll have to find other ways to cross the river when the current bridge is shut down, which is expected to happen in the late summer of 2015.

However, it’s hoped that once the bridge is complete, and train equipment is being installed, the pedestrian section of the bridge will be opened to the public.

That particular bridge design has been projected to cost $45 to $65 million – out of the expected $1.8 billion cost of the entire southeast leg of the LRT.

The entire southeast leg is expected to take four years to build.

The proposed design for the bridge will go before City Council for approval on Feb. 20.

With files from Brenna Rose