Heavy vehicle restrictions changed, lane closed on Calgary bridge following inspection

Heavy vehicle restrictions changed, lane closed on Calgary bridge following inspection

A recent inspection of a decades-old bridge that stretches across the Elbow River into Inglewood has led the City of Calgary to make changes to traffic travelling over it.

Heavy vehicle restrictions have been updated on the 9 Avenue S.E. bridge, the city said Thursday. Officials also closed one of the three lanes of traffic to reduce weight.

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Up to now, trucks heavier than 8.5 tonnes were not allowed to use the bridge. Now, trucks weighing more than five tonnes will also have to detour around the bridge.

“The bridge structure has served Calgary for 110 years,” the city’s manager of bridge maintenance, Charmaine Buhler, said. “This restriction is being put in place to ensure viability until it is replaced.

“We are now seeing the impact of heavy traffic and have decided to reduce the weight allowance.”

Vehicles inbound from 17 Avenue/Blackfoot Trail S.E. will have to detour via 26 Avenue to Dartmouth Road, 25 Avenue, northbound Macleod Trail and into downtown, the city said. Vehicles already on 9 Avenue S.E. will detour via 8 Street to MacDonald Avenue to 12 Avenue and into downtown.

The city is looking to hire a contractor to build a new 9 Avenue S.E. bridge, which officials said would be able to accommodate heavy trucks. It’s expected construction will start this year and the bridge should be open in late 2020.

According to Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, the restriction change wasn’t part of the bridge replacement plan but didn’t come as a major shock.

“We’ve timed it well. We’re getting the use out of that bridge that we expected to get out of it,” Carra told Global News on Thursday evening. “But the decay on the underside is reaching a point where our engineering inspectors are saying, for the remainder of its life, we’re going to restrict to five tonnes.

“We don’t want to stack a bunch of trucks in rush-hour traffic on it, we don’t want buses on it. The trucking industry is familiar with these kinds of restrictions and so they will respond, and our Calgary Transit drivers will make sure that they know what they’re doing and the fire department will make sure they know what they’re doing.”

Carra said when the time comes, the bridge will actually be replaced in two installments — a temporary bridge in a slightly different location and then the new replacement bridge — to ensure traffic isn’t interrupted for businesses, commuters and emergency services in the community.

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