George C. King Bridge To Remain Closed Until September 5, 2018
On August 16, 2018 Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), the organization leading the redevelopment and revitalization of downtown Calgary’s east end, closed the George C. King Bridge – the pedestrian bridge that spans the Bow River between East Village and Bridgeland.
Most commonly known as the St. Patrick’s Island Bridge, the George C. King Bridge opened in 2014 and in keeping with industry best practices to ensure the safety of all users, CMLC’s protocol is to comprehensively inspect major transportation infrastructure in East Village every two years. Last inspected during final certification of the project in 2016, the George C. King Bridge was due for a routine inspection to determine how well it is performing and aging.
Working with WSP, a multi-national engineering firm, and Graham Construction (combined with our project team), each of whom have specialized expertise in municipal infrastructure, CMLC is performing this inspection work now.
“While we have always endeavoured to provide ample notice of infrastructure work and/or closures that may cause disruptions and delays for some Calgarians, we were impelled to accelerate our inspection timeline following a 3-1-1 call which noted a potential issue on the southwest abutment of the bridge,” says Michael Brown, CMLC president & CEO. “While we sincerely regret any inconvenience the closure is causing, CMLC has direct oversight for the upkeep, maintenance and inspection of the George C. King Bridge, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t put public safety above all else. The project team has been working to complete its inspection as swiftly as possible without compromising the thoroughness and integrity of the results.”
Earlier today, the project team delivered a draft report outlining its findings. CMLC will release more details once the team has had sufficient time to interpret the report. However, in summary, the team of engineers inspecting the bridge flagged four matters requiring attention. Three of the four items can be easily addressed through maintenance; however, the fourth item is more significant: a 4-6-inch crack at a cross-strut connection.
The crack was observed along one of the steel members near the southwest corner of the bridge. Thorough inspection of all other bearings and connections on the bridge arches revealed no additional signs of stress or premature wear; the crack appears to be an anomaly and contained to one steel member only.
The most pressing concern, of course, is the compromised cross-strut connection and in the interests of public safety, we must implement a temporary solution before reopening the bridge to the public. The temporary solution involves affixing C-shaped steel molds to two of the steel members and then joining the molds by steel bars. The temporary repair is estimated to cost between $20 - $30k.
“We acknowledge that our fast-tracked closure of the bridge has inconvenienced many Calgarians. It was, we believe, the most prudent response to an issue observed and reported by a vigilant and caring citizen. CMLC has been doing everything in our power to remedy the matter and reopen the bridge. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that this closure occurred during the quieter summertime and has given us a chance to implement a solution before inner-city traffic volumes return to normal in early September,” says Susan Veres, CMLC senior vice president, strategy & business development.