Edmonton’s art of steel steals hearts

The new Walterdale Bridge, the new funicular, and the so-new-it’s-not-open-yet Stanley A. Milner Library won big awards at the recent Alberta Steel Design Awards of Excellence.

“A city is built out of infrastructure, including asphalt, concrete, steel and other material,” said Adam Laughlin, the City of Edmonton’s Deputy City Manager of Integrated Infrastructure Services.

“This infrastructure has a purpose,” he said. “It’s all in service to the people of Edmonton, and those people deserve to have safe, hard-working, beautiful, award-winning infrastructure. We’re very happy to receive these awards on behalf of Edmontonians and I want to thank all the City staff who worked on these projects for their commitment to excellence.”


Walterdale Bridge

The Walterdale Bridge creates a striking new entrance into the heart of downtown Edmonton and a unique gathering place in the heart of North America’s largest urban parkland.

The bridge is a graceful, single span, twin through-arch steel structure, spanning 206 metres (greater than the length of two football fields) from bank to bank across the North Saskatchewan River. It carries three lanes of northbound vehicle traffic, a sidewalk to the west of the roadway and a separated footbridge or shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists to the east.

The result is a signature structure that blends with its natural setting and creates a landmark gateway to the city’s core.


Mechanized River Valley Access

Before December 2017, the top bank (downtown) of our river valley was cut off from the valley and trail system below.

The large elevation difference and steep slopes of the river valley are part of its great beauty, but also make access difficult for users with mobility challenges. The Mechanized River Valley Access project addressed this challenge, opening the river valley to all and inviting every person, regardless of mobility. The journey includes a funicular and wide urban staircase, promenade, park space, pedestrian bridge, 19-metre cantilever lookout and elevator.

Photo credit: Leroy Schulz
Photo credit: Leroy Schulz

Stanley A. Milner Library

The Stanley A. Milner Library, located downtown across from Churchill Square, originally opened in 1967.

In 2014, City Council approved funding to revitalize the 50-year-old concrete structure from top to bottom. The overall project involved major demolition, hazardous material abatement and removal of the old facade. Building up again involved installation of a new structural steel facade, interior steel seismic reinforcements of existing concrete columns, stairs and access ramps. As well, it meant installing open web steel joists and floor/roof decking, developing the  site on the south side, and adding a new lower level connection from the Library interior to the LRT. Innovative uses of structural steel to support the dramatically contoured facade were achieved through a creative system of trusses. Other steel highlights included a slender reading ramp that wraps around the open atrium space, and the design and installation of a steel cross brace lateral system within the existing concrete structure.

Edmonton Public Libraries will reopen its new downtown doors to welcome people back with love on Valentine’s Day, 2020.

Here are more details about the awards that were presented May 2, 2019.


Bridge Award – Walterdale Bridge

An award for a steel bridge project that demonstrates outstanding use of steel in design and construction.

Structural Engineering Design: DIALOG

Steel collaborators: DIALOG, Supreme Group, Norfab Mfg (1993) Inc.


Engineering Award – Mechanized River Valley Access (100 Street Funicular)

Steel structures in which engineering considerations and the efficient use of steel in unique applications are the significant factor.

Structural Engineering Design: DIALOG

Steel collaborators: DIALOG, Norfab Mfg (1993) Inc., Supreme Group


Steel Edge Award – Stanley A. Milner Library Renewal

An open category looking for tremendous innovation and ingenuity in the application of steel design, fabrication, detailing or finishing. For example:

– Steel is used in an unconventional way,

– Steel application addresses a particular complexity

– Steel address a resource or application challenge  

Submitted by: Waiward Industrial LP

CISC Members: Vulcraft Canada, Inc., Stantec

Finalists competed for awards in categories including Architectural, Engineering, Sustainability, Steel Edge, Collaboration, Building Communities and the Bridge Award.

More information about the CISC Awards: https://www.cisc-icca.ca/awards/albertaawards/