'Important part of the St. Vital community': The repairs coming to Elm Park Bridge
An iconic Winnipeg landmark is getting a makeover.
The latest multi-year city budget has allocated $2,088,000 for repairs to the 109-year-old Elm Park Bridge, which connects the St. Vital and Fort Rouge neighbourhoods over the Red River.
St. Vital councillor Brian Mayes said he is excited to get the project on the books, even though it may still be a few years away. "Clean up the steel trusses … do some work with painting and coating, a lot of rust out here," said Mayes.
He said the bridge – which first opened in 1914 - has become an important part of St. Vital culture. "It was certainly threatened when it closed to vehicle traffic in the sixties," said Mayes. "I think the plan was to take it out - but the residents fought to keep it."
The project will include structural steel repairs, surface preparation, and recoating of the existing structural steel trusses. "Some of that needs to be cleaned up, replaced, modernized. And we've never really done the coating, done the painting that we need to do," said Mayes.
He added the recoating of the trusses will also improve the aesthetics of the bridge, making it look much nicer.
Mayes said the bridge has become hugely important to the community. "The people in my ward who use the bus rapid transit come across here and go over to Jubilee station," he said. "Or if you running the half marathon, you run across here."
He said the bridge has also been a big part of his life, "I ran across this (while) training in high school. I still run across this decades later, so it’s a pretty important part of the St. Vital community."
Mayes said some bridge repairs took place before he took over as councillor ion 2011. The concrete piers and bridge deck were repaired, and new bicycle height railings added.
He said the bridge's long life speaks to the strength of the community. "It's amazing," said Mayes. "That it's still going is a testament to the people around here, and I want to keep it going."
He hopes to be running over the Elm Park Bridge for years to come. "Maybe if I make it to age 103, I'm here for the 150th anniversary, hopefully I can make that."
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