IN THE NEWS: River Valley Road under Groat Road Bridge, including the shared-use path, will be closed for bridge deck, girders and abutment demolition for approximately one month.
This is good news for the bridge and its users—pedestrians, bicycle riders, transit riders, automobile drivers. The demolition work is part of bridge girder abutment and deck replacement work that will give the bridge another 50 years of life. So, good news in the longer term. In the short term, it means unavoidable inconvenience.
Sam El Mohtar, the City of Edmonton’s director of infrastructure delivery, gets it.
Sam’s advice about not shortcutting is important. The shared-use path under the bridge is located in tight quarters. To one side there is a steep river bank, to the other lanes of inaccessible Groat Road automobile traffic. To boot, it’s all fenced off starting this morning.
Sam’s month-long advice for north-bank trail users—especially joggers, walkers, people with pets, bike riders—is to not even get to the point where they have to turn around or, even harder, detour up a ravine trail to 102 Ave or up the Groat Road hill.
“We hear what critics are saying and we understand that position,” Sam said. “Walking or pedalling up the ravine to 102 Ave or north along Groat to 107 Ave is still a hill and it’s work and it’s out of the way. Our suggestion is for trail users for the next month to not get in that position in the first place. Our advice is to stay up above and just avoid the area, please.”
To that end, Sam’s colleagues have put up more than 20 signs in the river valley trail system, on both sides of the North Saskatchewan River, to remind Edmontonians and visitors to just avoid the area, please.
Motorists will get the message, too. Signage informing drivers of the closure have been placed at 18 locations in the area, including 107 Ave, Groat Road southbound and northbound, Victoria Park Road, River Valley Road and Emily Murphy Park Road. Detour markers have been added to guide motorists to Emily Murphy Park Road or 107 Ave to turn around and travel east of the bridge on River Valley Road or to Groat Road southbound respectively.
After the month, the project moves on to installation of the new girders and the pouring of a new deck in spring 2019. When the west side is complete, traffic will be routed to the new side and work will begin on the east half of the bridge.
The City is working on the three Groat Road bridges and Groat Road from 87 Avenue to the North Saskatchewan River to improve the system’s roads, sidewalks and shared-use paths. Construction is being phased in over three years, starting April, 2018.
“It’s an important and exciting project, and we’re very aware of the need to keep as much of the area open and flowing as possible while work happens,” Sam said. “And we’ll keep Edmontonians updated, including here on the blog.”
“Thank you, everyone,” he said.
The Groat Road Bridges project is currently in Phase 1, which is focused on the superstructure demolition of the west side of Groat Road Bridge over the North Saskatchewan River. This work will be followed by installation of the new girders and the pouring of a new deck in spring 2019.
When the west half is complete, traffic will be routed to the new side and work will begin on the east half of the bridge. Similar closures in the area are expected during the next phase. Project completion is the fall of 2020 and includes an improved shared-use path of 4.2m wide on the east side of Groat Road Bridge.
There’s more here to learn about the project and its benefits, timelines, costs, closures and engineering.