The location for the bridge is based on the shape of the river, significant grade and topographical variances, and suitable road alignment with the new Griffin Road and James Walker Trail alignment. The Town’s 2006 Transportation Plan included the new bridge across the Bow River and arterial road connections on both sides. Other bridge locations would be significantly more expensive due to the additional length of the road required and the span required to cross the Bow River.
This location also provides direct connectivity to the SLS Family Sports Center and Cochrane’s downtown for car, bike, pedestrian and possibly transit from the communities south of the Bow River.
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The west end of the bridge approach will connect to the Arena Road roundabout in front of the SLS Family Sports Center and cross to the other side of the river.
The off-leash area and the multi-use pathway in that area will be left largely intact; however, a portion of the off-leash area and multi-use pathway will be closed to the public during construction. There will be a detour for the multi-use pathway to maintain connectivity. More information will be provided closer to the start of construction.
There are some decisions still to be made regarding pathway alignments and facilities; however, the bridge has been designed to minimize the impact to the multi-use pathway and river access of the off-leash area. An amenity space with benches and tables beneath the bridge is also being planned.
A new parking lot is currently being planned to replace the temporary parking area established during the Griffin Road realignment.
Plans and draft locations were evaluated as far back as 2002, and are based on functional studies that determined the most efficient alignment and greatest utility for both ends of the proposed bridge. Current and future land uses, roadway length and grades, bridge span, floodways, impacts to adjacent properties, and users all played a role in choosing the crossing location.
Construction of the bridge and approach roads will commence following the completion of realignment of Griffin Road in spring 2018, and obtaining necessary permits from Alberta Environment, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Transport Canada (among others) to work within the river.
Detailed structural design of the bridge has begun and is expected to be complete and Issued for construction by summer 2018.
The Town is currently preparing an RFP for selection of the construction contractor for the bridge in early spring 2018. A separate RFP will be issued for the construction contractor for the James Walker Trail roadway in late spring 2018.
The Town will be requesting public input for some aesthetic aspects and the naming of the bridge. More information will be available once the process is finalized.
The initial phase of work sees a new, two-lane James Walker Trail corridor and bridge connecting Griffin Road at the Arena Road roundabout to Riviera Way in Riversong. The Town anticipates the bridge and the new James Walker Trail will be open to the public by end of 2020.
In addition to the roadway itself, the construction also includes a new separated multi-use pathway and on-road bike lanes that cross the river on the bridge. The new pathway and bike lanes will be connected to the existing pathway and bike lane systems.
The extension of James Walker Trail from Riviera Way through to Highway 22 will be constructed later, depending on the timing of the South Bow development.