Replacing the existing structure, originally built in 1913, the new bridge celebrates the site of the city’s founding with increased access to the North Saskatchewan River
After a two-year delay, the Walterdale Bridge recently opened, offering increased traffic flow – both vehicular and passenger – across the North Saskatchewan River.
The Walterdale Bridge is named after early settler John Walter, who operated a ferry at this same crossing. Designed by the Edmonton office of DIALOG, the new Walterdale Bridge replaces the old structure built in 1912-13.
The new 755-foot bridge span features a signature arch structure, at more than 160 feet tall, which serves as a gateway to Edmonton’s downtown core. A newly open shared-use path on the east side of the bridge invites walkers, runners, cyclists, stroller pushers, and even wheelchairs to get even closer to the River Valley. This path is a smaller bridge beside the traffic bridge, sharing one of the signature arches for support.
The design team incorporated Kebony Clear modified wood decking on the pedestrian bridge and bench seating around it, offering those who use it a pleasant experience crossing the river, separated from traffic on the east side of the bridge. And the pedestrian routes offer excellent accessibility and connectivity to the river valley’s extensive trail system. These newly created passageways facilitated by the bridge’s arched design also accommodate public art and seating for taking in views of both the city and river valley.
The wide crossing includes seating to shelter people from prevailing winds and provides access to get close to the river. This is the second major architectural project in Edmonton for which Kebony was specified; the 170 stairs of the widely lauded Edmonton Funicular, completed in late 2017, were made with the modified wood also.
“Kebony ties in with the natural river valley surroundings and softens the experience for pedestrians enjoying the bridge,” DIALOG landscape architectural technologist Sean Mahoney said. “Not only does Kebony provide the natural esthetic the design team wanted, its durability withstands Edmonton’s varying climate.”
DIALOG’s integrated design team for this project included structural engineering (bridge design), electrical engineering, architecture and landscape architecture. Kebony was used extensively on another nearby DIALOG project, Mechanized River Valley Access (the Edmonton Funicular).
As a prominent addition to the Edmonton skyline, the bridge is designed to be both functional and beautiful. The signature steel arches and cable design hides utility pipes and cables, which have been relocated from the old Walterdale Bridge.
Photo: Brock Kryton Photography