Edmonton’s new Walterdale Bridge connects the city, nature, and people

The city of Edmonton, Alberta welcomes their new single span, twin through-arch steel structure, Walterdale Bridge that stretches from bank to bank across the North Saskatchewan River.

Photo credit: Tom Arban Photography Inc.

Greater than the length of two football fields, the 206 metre bridge carries three lanes of northbound vehicle traffic, a sidewalk to the west of the roadway and a shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists to the east.

Designed and structurally engineered by DIALOG’s multidisciplinary team, the project readjusted two prominent roadways to connect to the new river bridge alignment. The result is a signature structure forming a landmark gateway to the city’s downtown.

Photo credit: DIALOG

The new bridge creates a public space on the river where the duality of the city and nature are celebrated.

Though it is a bridge for cars and pedestrians, the experience of each mode is separate and enjoyable in its own way.

The pastoral side of the bridge is a curved shared use path on the downstream, arced away from traffic, where pedestrians and cyclists are closer to the environment.

A wooden boardwalk amplifies warmth and connects the river valley setting at the entrances to the shared use path, while the west side of the shared path is a continuous high-back bench that softens the prevailing winds and noise from traffic.

Photo credit: Tom Arban Photography Inc.

There are places on the bridge and banks for pedestrians to linger and watch the river go by to heighten their experience.

As cars approach the bridge, there is a procession down the hill through the river valley’s forest that leads to a climatic reveal of Edmonton’s downtown skyline.

According to developers, the bridge was the most complex infrastructure project completed in Edmonton designed with the intent to last at least 100 years.

The operation of construction was a challenging process that required close collaboration between designers, builders, and the City of Edmonton.

Integration between engineering, architecture and the public realm is considered at all levels, from the overall global level of the structure and roads, down to the pedestrian experience.

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