Here’s some key dates preceding today’s celebration of two new bridges in Saskatoon:
Oct. 10, 1907: The bridge officially opens to connect the community of Nutana on the south side of the South Saskatchewan River with downtown Saskatoon on the north side. The original cost of building the bridge was $105,000 and the province paid for it.
June 8, 1908: The steamship City of Medicine Hat crashes against a bridge pier and sinks, marking the last voyage of a steamer on the river.
Aug. 20, 1912: The provincial government transfers ownership of the bridge to the City of Saskatoon for $1.
Jan 15, 1913: A street car derails for the first time coming down Long Hill while trying to make the sharp turn onto the bridge. It hits a telephone pole and stops.
March 3, 1922: A streetcar derails on the Long Hill approach, but it bounces off the telephone pole, rolls down the riverbank and lands right side up on the frozen river.
1933: Streetcar lines are rerouted to the Broadway Bridge.
1961: The south end of the bridge is raised and a new interchange is built.
September 1996: A city committee rejects the idea of closing the bridge to vehicle traffic during the summer. The proposal follows a summer when the bridge was closed for eight weeks for repairs.
Nov. 2, 2005: The bridge is closed to vehicle traffic. “The bridge is done,” former city manager Phil Richards says.
February 2006: An engineering report warns the city is taking a risk by allowing pedestrians to use the bridge.
Sept. 8, 2006: After repairs, the bridge reopens for vehicles. The repairs are expected at the time to increase the lifespan of the bridge by another 20 years.
September 2007: The city spends $462,000 to install decorative lights on the bridge.
2007: The city formally names it the Traffic Bridge. It was previously also known as the Victoria Bridge.
June 2010: The city holds public consultations on the future of the bridge.
Aug. 24, 2010: The Traffic Bridge is closed for good due to concerns about its structural integrity. “It’s still standing, but I can’t tell you exactly how it’s standing,” says the city’s infrastructure services manager, Mike Gutek.Dec. 6, 2010: After a three-hour debate with about 140 people in attendance, city council votes 8-3 to replace the bridge with a modern steel-truss bridge that will be “sympathetic” in design to the original. The cost is estimated at $27 million to $34 million.October 2012: The southernmost span of the bridge, located over Saskatchewan Crescent, is demolished.March 31, 2014: City council approves rebuilding the Traffic Bridge as part of a P3 project that includes a new north commuter bridge to connect the northern part of the city and reduce congestion on other bridges. The original cost of building the two new bridges is set at just over $252 million.Nov. 19, 2015: The city strikes a deal with Graham Commuter Partners for $497.7 million to build the new Traffic Bridge and the new north bridge and maintain both bridges for 30 years. The city and province also contribute tens of millions dollars each.Jan. 10, 2016: Thousands turn out in frigid weather to watch two of the Traffic Bridge’s remaining four spans fall to the berm built in the river after explosive charges are detonated.Feb. 7, 2016: A smaller crowd turns out to watch explosives take down the northernmost span.July 21, 2016: Saskatoon city council endorses naming the new north bridge to honour Indigenous heritage in line with a recommendation from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the harm caused by residential schools.Nov. 17, 2016: The final remaining Traffic Bridge span, which stood for months on its […]
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