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Winnipeg

New report recommends rehab of over 110-year-old bridge, not building new one

Mary Young walks across the Louise Bridge every day.

“We’ll I’m close to downtown…so I walk and I don’t really need to go anywhere,” said Young.

Young said that daily trip to downtown would be a hardship without the bridge crossing.

“Long ways to find another bridge.”

A report at city hall said the more than 110-year-old bridge is in poor condition and is facing deck, steel, and pier deterioration.

It requires significant upgrades before the end of the decade.

“If you’ve ever been on the Louise Bridge it’s got some movement to it,” said Public Works Committee Chair, Janice Lukes.

The public works department is recommending a $40 million rehabilitation of the structure with two lanes of traffic.

This is instead of a new build, which would have four or six lanes, and a price tag of up to $179 million.

The report said the full replacement is not needed until after 2050 – to coincide with the planned eastern route of Rapid Transit – which would go over the bridge.

“I don’t think it’s logical to completely redo the bridge and all the access points, rebuild the whole thing, to what is required in 30 years.”

Coun. Jason Schreyer said he is disappointed by the rehab plan, but not surprised by it, blaming the direction on inflationary pressure.

“I feel sorry for Winnipeggers that after all the deliberation for building a new bridge, and for our eastern corridor for Rapid Transit, we’re looking at rehabilitation of a 100-year-old bridge.”

Area MLA Jim Maloway said a new bridge is needed here, not a refurbishment.

“Anybody that will listen to this argument will see that’s a total waste of $40 million – and it doesn’t expand the bridge, the bridge is too small right now for the traffic that we’ve got,” said Maloway.

The report said a two-lane bridge rehab would provide enough room for traffic until 2050.

The city might see this plan as the cheaper quicker option to ensure the Louise Bridge doesn’t end up like Arlington – closed indefinitely

“I would say that that is one perspective that the department has on it,” Lukes said.

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