There's just one more closure, then Groat Road Bridge will reopen Monday
EDMONTON -- Groat Road Bridge will reopen Monday after one final full-weekend closure, capping off more than two years of construction on the roadway.
The bridge will be closed 7 p.m. Friday to Sunday afternoon.
When it reopens for the start of next week, all four lanes will be open to traffic, as well as a 4.2-meter shared-used path for pedestrians and cyclists.
The rehabilitation work, which will extend the bridge’s life cycle by 50 years, was finished on time and on budget at $55 million.
“We understand that bridge projects bring an inherent risk and are often very complicated, and our experience on previous bridge projects in this city has been mixed, admittedly,” said Jason Meliefste, acting deputy city manager of Integrated Infrastructure Services.
Five years ago, girders bent during construction on the 102 Avenue bridge, and the Walterdale Bridge opened more than two years late.
However, Meliefste said, the city’s crews and partners Graham Construction and design company Dialog executed Groat Road's complicated plan well.
While construction started in April 2018, design work for the three bridges in the area – over Victoria Park Road and the North Saskatchewan River, and at Emily Murphy Park – began in December 2015. At the time, the partners faced either totally closing the roadway, or simultaneously allowing traffic and dismantling and rebuilding Groat Road Bridge.
Choosing the latter meant many lane closures and delays for commuters over the years, but avoided creating traffic problems at other river crossings.
"The completion of the Groat bridge project is particularly a proud moment for us," the city's director of transportation infrastructure delivery, said.
The last phase of work was demolition of the east half of Groat Road Bridge in May. Over the summer, piers below the water were repaired and new girders were installed.
There will be more partial closures in the future as crews see through “finishing touches,” officials advised, but thanked Edmontonians for their patience.
81 PER CENT OF PROJECTS ON TIME: CITY
The city worked on about 280 projects during the 2020 construction season, 93 per cent of which are on budget and 81 per cent on schedule, Meliefste said.
Among the milestones reached is the widening of the first section of Yellowhead Trail between 50 Street and the river. Work to widen the route’s eastbound lanes, which had been scheduled to start in 2021, was moved forward. Besides monitoring and maintenance, that site will not have any more lane closures until the next construction season.
Work to replace the heating and ventilation systems, electrical equipment and architectural upgrades at the Muttart Conservatory is on track to be finished by the end of year.
Edmonton also rehabbed nine transit garages, opened Stanley E. Milner Library, connected heating, cooling and water systems to Blatchford’s first homes, opened the Queen Elizabeth II Planetarium in Coronation Park and started preparing for the first stage of work for the Terwillegar expressway.
Projects that are behind schedule include some trail realignment projects in the river valley, which got caught by early winter conditions, and the southeast Valley Line.
According to Meliefste, the December 2020 end date set out in the project agreement is no longer realistic, but the city is working with TransEd to ensure the quality of the finished line.
“The timeline is very important to us, I think it’s important to citizens, but I think most important is making sure the money and the investment being made in that piece of infrastructure is set up for the next 30, 50 years,” he commented.
He also said the city will soon share their preferred candidate to work with on Valley Line West.
Construction on that segment is slated to start next year with site and property preparation, staging, managing utilities, and bringing equipment and materials to the worksite.
“If there was a time to start with Imagine Jasper Avenue and he west piece… really, it was this year to start it, otherwise the window of opportunity would really be after Valley Line West is complete, which we know is probably going to extend out to 2026 or 2027,” Meliefste commented.
That project, which will see Jasper Avenue renewed from 109 Street to 124 Street, is on schedule, and westbound traffic is expected to return within a week.