Inglewood and the East Village are once again officially reunited, as the City of Calgary opened the 9 Avenue SE bridge on Tuesday morning.
And although the bridge has been open to vehicle traffic for months now, the ceremonies on June 28 opened the pathways on the bridge to pedestrians and cyclists
The $25 million project replaced the old bridge over the Elbow River, which had served Calgarians for 110 years.
“Here we have today, a new bridge—a new bridge that represents modern technology, new technology that preserves the context of the history of what Inglewood is and what Downtown is,” said Ward 7 Coun. Terry Wong.
The construction of the bridge began in 2019. The arch design allowed the construction of the bridge to be thinner than competing designs, ensuring that the road did not have to be raised keeping the sight lines into historic Inglewood.
Kerensa Swanson Fromherz, director of transportation infrastructure with the City of Calgary, called the design innovative.
“The new bridge has been built to provide improved accessibility for all users to provide improved flood resilience and to continue to serve as a key connection between communities and also to the river pathways which extend throughout the region,” she said.
Provincial funding from flood resiliency programs
The Province of Alberta provided $5 million in funding for the 9 Avenue SE bridge out of provincial funding for increasing flood resiliency.
Alberta’s Minister for Transportation, Prasad Panda, cited the bridge as one of the many projects that Calgary has undertaken to mitigate flood risk.
“We all watched with concern earlier this month when Calgary once again was faced with heavy rain and raising river levels,” he said.
“Thankfully, there was no repeat of the devastating floods of 2013, but that rain event a few weeks ago was a reminder of the importance of being prepared.”
Both Coun. Wong and Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra talked about the importance of Indigenous connections at the bridge, being that it is at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers.
“I’m very proud to stand here at the confluence, at Mohkinstsis, to celebrate the relationships that we built over the years, that we’re committed to building moving forward, and how pieces of infrastructure like this are monuments to that,” said Coun. Carra.
Chaz Smith, CEO of BeTheChangeYYC, attended the opening ceremonies on Tuesday. He said that he hoped that the bridge would eventually go through a naming process to better reflect the importance of the confluence.
“We know that this is the one of the holy places for Indigenous peoples of the area where the two rivers meet, and I would love to see that the bridge get a name that is blessed by the Indigenous peoples here,” he said.
“I just think it’s important to celebrate diversity in all its forms, and continue growing Calgary as an inclusive city, and if we can see bridges and things represent and that promote that community, why not?”
The City of Calgary is planning on retaining the original bridge sign and trusses, and installing those at Sculpture Park during the summer.