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Thread: High Level Bridge revamp forthcoming?

  1. #1
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    Default High Level Bridge revamp forthcoming?

    Wider sidewalks, LRT tracks and shared-use paths on Edmonton’s High Level Bridge to be studied

    http://www.630ched.com/2017/03/26/wi...to-be-studied/

    Several months after the introduction of suicide barriers on the High Level Bridge created an uproar with cyclists due to narrow paths, the City of Edmonton is now looking for a consultant to examine different options for the busy thoroughfare.

    The consultant will be tasked with doing a structural feasibility assessment of the bridge and providing a feasibility study and conceptual bridge modification strategy report for four scenarios.
    Each would include maintaining the current vehicle lanes on the lower deck of the bridge.


    The four options include:

    • Widening the sidewalks on the lower deck to 4.2 metres wide;
    • Adding two LRT tracks and two 4.2 metre wide shared-use paths on the upper deck;
    • A combination of the two scenarios;
    • Review the feasibility of the south approach sidewalks widening.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    Any of those things would be nice, but there is also a cheap solution: Unbolt the posts holding the cable barriers and reinstall them by bolting them to the outside of the original railing posts.

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    ^ The sidewalk widening is needed regardless of the suicide fencing.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  4. #4

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    a long term vision is well over due for this iconic Edmonton bridge.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    Any of those things would be nice, but there is also a cheap solution: Unbolt the posts holding the cable barriers and reinstall them by bolting them to the outside of the original railing posts.
    Yup. Might need some custom base plates or extension plates / brackets to go under or beside the existing rail posts but that sort of fix would be cheap, maybe even site made.

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    I'm not looking forward to the day they do any form of rehabilitation / modification work on the high level. I remember it made for terrible rush hours when they last widened the sidewalks / painted the bridge back around '95. And with how much Edmonton has grown in the last 20+ years and how much worse traffic across the bridge has gotten, it's going to be awful.

  7. #7

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    I have a question. What happens to the Edmonton Radial Rail Society, which currently operates a streetcar over the top of the bridge? Does that just stop operating?
    "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." - Dalai Lama

  8. #8

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    Two LRT tracks?

    From where? To where?

    That required a wholesale change to the existing LRT route plans. There is also the issue of the narrow tunnel at the south end or the congestion of 109st.

    I like how scope creep has no bounds.

    Looks like another half baked, 'pie in the sky' idea.
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 28-03-2017 at 06:54 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    Two LRT tracks?

    From where? To where?

    That required a wholesale change to the existing LRT route plans. There is also the issue of the narrow tunnel at the south end or the congestion of 109st.

    Looks like another half baked, 'pie in the sky' idea.
    Two LRT Tracks connecting the Valley Line with a Central LRT network in Old Strathcona. You know, the line the City has in it's Long Term LRT Network Plan, from 2012. Eventually to Sherwoood Park based on that map.

    So no wholesale changes in the plans.

    And the tunnel isn't an issue, as they'd likely go down 109th street. Which is 6 lanes, and surely could use a bit of a road diet to fit in two LRT tracks. The transit only lane and parking lane seem like easy removals.

  10. #10

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    I know very well that it has been on maps since 1964!

    Even the plans that you reference, are long term corridor plans. Maybe by 2064?
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    In other words, plan now for the potential of tracks in case they are required, rather than ignoring plans.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Channing View Post
    In other words, plan now for the potential of tracks in case they are required, rather than ignoring plans.
    Implementing or even planning to implement the City's plans requires ignoring the Provincial Government's plans for the same stuff.
    Giving less of a damn than ever… Can't laugh at the ignorant if you ignore them!

  13. #13

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    Correct

    Competing interests for the Radial Rail Society, LRT and HSR. Let alone a top deck walking/bike path or additional traffic lanes.
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    Or perhaps the consultant doing the study will have all those potential impacts in their report, rather than ignoring them?

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    Please widen the walkway and eliminate that stupid fencing that made cycling across the bridge dangerous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    Any of those things would be nice, but there is also a cheap solution: Unbolt the posts holding the cable barriers and reinstall them by bolting them to the outside of the original railing posts.
    Yup. Might need some custom base plates or extension plates / brackets to go under or beside the existing rail posts but that sort of fix would be cheap, maybe even site made.
    You're being wildly optimistic. It would need to be a completely engineered solution, and would likely require as extensive an amount of work to modify the existing barriers as it did to install them in the first place. Meaning millions of dollars, all told. I agree it should have been done that way in the first place, which is what makes it so galling. But throwing around claims that it's a simple, easy, cheap and quick fix just isn't realistic.

    In any case, as people have mentioned, it's high time that the City comes up with a long term plan for the use of the bridge's top deck. Whether that be for LRT, HSR, multi-use paths or what have you.

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    How about a new bridge? Or a complete overhaul using the existing piers, or similar?

    I know, there have been countless discussions about this and I know this bridge as it is is "iconic", however, this bridge has been a traffic snarl for years, if not decades. Not discussing an eventual replacement or complete overhaul poses an unenviable position for some future city administration to receive a "surprise" engineering report that suggests that the bridge is no longer worth repairing.

    At some point, are we not throwing good money after bad by continually revamping this bridge? Are we not just delaying the inevitable? The bridge is over 100 years old, when is its service life set to expire, or has this already happened?

  18. #18

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    We don't need to replace this bridge. What we need are more bridges, especially top-of-bank to top-of-bank. We're a city of bottlenecks.
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

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    I can't help but wonder if the bridge could handle having two cars lanes bolted on to the side, not unlike the Alexandra bridge in Ottawa.

    With so many competing interests for the present and future: vehicles, pedestrian, bicycles, trolley, LRT, Commuter Rail, and HSR this study had better be thorough and not limited in scale and scope by the city 'crates and their agenda. There is only room on the top deck for three sets of tracks.

    Finally, I draw your attention to the May 2010 issue of the Edmontonians for a future vision of what could be the replacement of such a bridge:
    https://issuu.com/edmontoniansmagazi...tonians_may_10

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    ^^^ Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I think the bridge now has historical protection. And even if its not - any politician, make-work manager or bean counter in City Hall who even suggests knocking it down will be lynched on the spot.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    We don't need to replace this bridge. What we need are more bridges, especially top-of-bank to top-of-bank. We're a city of bottlenecks.
    Can you name me a city that does not have bottlenecks?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    ^^^ Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I think the bridge now has historical protection. And even if its not - any politician, make-work manager or bean counter in City Hall who even suggests knocking it down will be lynched on the spot.
    Correct, it is a designated municipal heritage resource.

    https://www.edmonton.ca/city_governm...evelBridge.pdf

    Even if it wasn't, the cost of a replacement bridge over that span & height would be astronomically high. And I personally, think most of the traffic bottle necks are caused by the intersection at the south side of the bridge, rather than the bridge itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz
    We don't need to replace this bridge. What we need are more bridges, especially top-of-bank to top-of-bank. We're a city of bottlenecks.


    Edmonton's traffic is pretty reasonable for the most part, for a city of it's size. The main bottleneck is North/South traffic during the rush hours. Problem is, even if you add lanes to the High Level, or find a place to build a massive, billion dollar plus top of bank to top of bank bridge, that traffic has nowhere to go. The bridge doesn't cause 109 street to back up. It backs up because of intersections as you go South, not to mention a thriving commercial area that it goes through. Ultimately, what it comes down to is a lack of a North/South freeway or expressway. Building a new bridge or expanding existing ones doesn't fix that. And there's no realistic corridor for something like that to be built without massive land acquisition or some elevated monstrosity.

  24. #24

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    Agreed
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