The Blackmud Creek Pedestrian Bridge Replacement project is a great example of how different business areas in Infrastructure Planning and Design, Infrastructure Delivery, LRT Expansion and Renewal and City Operations worked together to achieve independent project and program goals. They demonstrated creative problem-solving and environmental leadership, and ticked all five of the Cultural Commitments along the way. The Blackmud Creek Pedestrian Bridge Replacement project respects the environment and the river valley system by repurposing a piece of “made in Edmonton” infrastructure that had plenty of service life left in it and repurposing it to serve Edmontonians in the Blackmud Creek.
The former Connors Road footbridge, which connected pedestrians using the Mill Creek Ravine with the Gallagher Park community, has a venerable “made in Edmonton” story that will live on in the Blackmud Creek ravine. It was replaced in 2020 as part of LRT construction, by the ᑳᐦᐊᓯᓃᐢᑳᐠ or Kâhasinîskâk footbridge, pronounced kâ-(h)a-si-nî-skâk, which is a historical Cree reference to Mill Creek. It translates as “slow moving water over stones” in English, and connects visibly to the fact that the City of Edmonton sits on Treaty 6 territory.
The Blackmud Creek pedestrian bridge near 111 Street in southwest Edmonton had approached the end of its service life. It was closed to vehicle traffic in 1994, and kept open for pedestrians and cyclists. The structure has deteriorated progressively to the point where replacement is required.
Rather than throwing away the Connors Road footbridge that still had years of service life in its steel, the project team investigated whether to keep it and re-purpose the steel structure to replace the Blackmud Creek pedestrian bridge. After a detailed engineering assessment, the project team determined that the main truss—the span that crossed over Connors Road—could be used to replace the Blackmud Creek pedestrian bridge at a similar cost as a new bridge structure. The project team collaboratively implemented the innovative solution of recycling and repurposing existing infrastructure where it would reduce the environmental impact and continue to serve Edmontonians at a different location.
Each of the nominated team members played a pivotal role: Cheryl Fereday suggested the recycled bridge option; Satya Gadidasu, Jason Reske and Sylvester Zagaj coordinated the bridge removal and move to the storage yard, Satya stewarded the project through planning, permitting and design, and Jason will oversee the replacement of the Blackmud Creek bridge in 2021. The project team demonstrated that exploring innovative solutions can produce cost-effective and successful results across business lines and that have positive impacts on the environment.