Disraeli Bridges Project
The Project is Winnipeg’s largest bridge project to date. At the peak of construction the Disraeli Bridges Project will support 120 construction jobs.
To address the many needs and requirements of the Disraeli Bridges Project, Plenary Roads Winnipeg will build two new bridge structures and associated roadworks in several stages.
The first stage will be to complete the detailed design, delivery of materials and environmental permitting for the project. Construction will then start with a new vehicular bridge over the Red River and will be followed by the construction of a new CPR overpass. Once the new vehicular bridge and overpass are open to traffic, the old bridge will be demolished and construction of the new Active Transportation bridge and landscaping will wrap up the project.
The new overpass will be built immediately to the east of the existing structure, and the new river bridge will be built to west of the existing structure. Where these bridges begin and end in Elmwood and Point Douglas will largely be maintained. Commuting and driving times will remain roughly the same, as construction will occur without interruption to traffic most days.
Roadworks and Street Level Improvements
As part of the construction, new roadworks will be completed within the project boundary, which extends from Main Street to Hespeler Avenue. From Main Street to the southern end of the CPR overpass, the alignment of the road will remain the same. Minor improvements will be made to the roads leading onto or off of Disraeli Freeway and to the median dividing the road.
Landscaping and lighting around the new structures will be enhanced. Gateways and public art features at Henderson Highway and in Point Douglas will announce the project and express the uniqueness of the communities. An entrance feature with wayfinding signage will also be added to the intersection of Waterfront Drive at Higgins.
The new CPR overpass will be of similar height and length with fewer spans than the current overpass. An “under-bridge” art gallery will be funded in part through the project and is anticipated to include murals on the piers for the overpass and contributions from local artists.
The on and off ramp accesses between the CPR overpass and the river bridge from Disraeli and Gladstone Streets will be maintained. However, a roundabout will be installed from Gladstone, to facilitate better movement by vehicles and by pedestrians. Access underneath the overpass at Gladstone Street will be closed. Access at Rover Avenue will be maintained. Sidewalks will connect the community to transit stops located in pull-outs from the travel lanes on both sides of the Freeway. On the Elmwood side, the new river bridge alignment will provide a smoother traffic flow into Elmwood including access to and from Talbot and Midwinter Avenues. A more direct on-ramp will be constructed from Talbot and a sidewalk will be built where the existing road is located.
New Bridge Construction
The most distinctive change will be the construction of a new bridge west of the existing river bridge. Built at the same height and with the same positioning of river piers, the new bridge will offer a similar but cleaner profile than the current one. Construction materials will be durable and resistant to corrosion and vandals. The four driving lanes (two in each direction) will be wider than on the present bridge, with a concrete barrier separating them. For increased safety, another concrete barrier will separate traffic from a pedestrian sidewalk that will be constructed on the east side of the bridge. Lighting and attractive banners will run the length of the bridge. Sharrows, indicating shared lanes of travel for bicycles and vehicles, will be painted in the curb lane in each direction. On both the Elmwood and Point Douglas sides, the design of the bridge abutments will allow for more open views under the bridge which will increase safety for pedestrians. The structures have also been designed to allow for future expansion of the Disraeli to six lanes through the widening of the spans within the right-of-way, should this option ever be pursued.
Once traffic has been transferred to the new bridge the old structure will be removed, with the exception of the existing river bridge piers. About one-third of each pier will be cut away and re-used to support the new Active Transportation (AT) bridge linking Elmwood and Point Douglas. The AT bridge will be over 5.0 metres wide to promote use by both pedestrians and cyclists. In addition, all elements will be designed to Winnipeg Accessibility Design Standards. The AT bridge will be built at a lower height than the motor vehicle bridge, which will benefit all users by reducing the steepness of the grade to climb, and by providing good links to existing and future AT routes. Although the AT bridge will be lower, it will not impede any boat traffic on the river. Architecturally, the AT bridge will be harmonious with the new bridge, but it will also feature details like an ornate railing, plus interpretative lookouts and rest areas protected by shade canopies. On the Elmwood side there will be a plaza with decorative paving, interpretative signage, benches and public art.
An Attractive Addition to Winnipeg
Finally the new Disraeli design will incorporate improved landscape features that will create a more residential feel for the adjoining neighbourhoods. In addition to the plaza on the Elmwood side, a more park-like atmosphere will be created in proximity to Disraeli Street. The proposed design will buffer the sight and sound of the Freeway through architectural and landscaping features. For those crossing the bridge and overpass by car, bicycle or on foot, more trees, plantings and green space will be visible. Overall the Disraeli Bridges Project will combine form and function and contribute to the vision of Winnipeg as a vibrant and healthy city.Last update: 02.03.2011
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