Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Arlington Street Bridge

The Arlington Street bridge in Winnipeg
There has been some discussion recently on replacing the Arlington Street bridge in Winnipeg. This bridge was built in 1912 (in Birmingham, England!) and spans the CP Winnipeg yard and is due for replacement soon.

Railfans know this bridge as a good platform for watching trains from above, and it is in the backgrounds of many Winnipeg yard photos.
CP Winnipeg yard with Arlington Street bridge, October 2011
The yard itself has come up in conversation with respect to railway relocation. You may recall I mentioned the provincial Rail Relocation Task Force formed in January to investigate the options to move railway lines (mostly CP) out of Winnipeg. At the time former Quebec premier Jean Charest was appointed to lead this task force. Since then, we've had a provincial election and the Conservatives are now in power, and they've shown little appetite to continue with this study. UPDATE: the study has been cancelled.

Arlington Street bridge, Winnipeg
Last week, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said that plans to replace the bridge must go ahead, regardless of what might happen with the Task Force. The city has a web page set up for the study and a functional design PDF. Naturally the city staffers are recommending the Chief Administrative Officer be given the authority to spend up to $5 million on a non-bid / sole source contract. sarcasm More responsible use of city money end-sarcasm

The study has a round figure of $300 million (-30%/+60%) to replace the bridge by 2020 with a new four-lane bridge. The current bridge is two lanes with steep approach ramps at either end. It is not pleasant to drive across and definitely needs some improvement.

There are a few options outlined in the appendix of the report (PDF) including:

  • span the yard at the same location
  • build a new bridge about midway between the existing Arlington bridge and the existing Route 62 bridge, and remove the existing Arlington bridge
  • remove the Arlington bridge and expand the existing McPhillips underpass

Personally I think CP needs to be heavily involved, as their plans for the yard would factor into this a lot.
CP yard in Winnipeg
If you look at the yard today it is pretty empty compared to how it has been. If CP was willing to narrow their yard somewhat, it would really affect the bridge design and perhaps location. I doubt that CP is really interested in reducing their capacity, though.

I hope this doesn't become another huge boondoggle like the Waverley Street underpass, but it certainly has that potential. Another project to keep an eye on.

More on this bridge at Heritage Winnipeg's site.

Here's a video I took several years ago of a pair of switchers going under the bridge.

More posts about bridges

1 comment:

Chris BIGDoer Doering said...

If it's coming down, I should be saving my pennies and pay it a visit before then. Something about old bridges makes me crazy. Great piece!