Wednesday, 13 October 2010

'Arlington Bridge' back in business !

The Arlington Street Overpass

The Arlington Street Overpass reopened Monday after a week of TLC !

I enjoy visiting bridges, especially the older ones, when they are closed for maintenance. It's a chance to see the structure from a new perspective, to stop and really look at them without worrying about noise or traffic. (I did the same with the Louise Bridge last year).

The Arlington Street Overpass
The Arlington Street Overpass

A co-worker who grew up in the North End made told me to check out the wooden planks which I didn't really understand until I got to the site. Yup ... on the approaches to the bridge there are wooden planks, alright ! I've emailed the city's Public Works Department to ask why wood ?

I assume it's for the same reason today as back in 1947 when the city was dealing with ever crumbling concrete on the sidewalk areas. The city engineer "...recommended that fir planking be used in replacing the present crumbling concrete walks. Such planking would reduce the dead load on the bridge, and do away with expansion". Perhaps this is the same idea just with a few centimeters of asphalt over top ?

The Arlington Street Overpass

The bridge deck, though, is steel and was reconstructed in 1992, though with the look of it in some places, I'd feel as safe with the wood !

The Arlington Street Overpass

They may be aging relics but there is something fascinating about these iron monsters, something that can't be said for more recent bridges like the Disraeli or Midtown. Interestingly, the Disraeli's lifespan will have been about half of the Arlington's (or the Redwood's or the Louise's). These old ladies have seen a Midtown Bridge come and go in just 30 years and a Provencher Bridge replaced in just over 80.

The Arlington Street Overpass

The Arlington Bridge opened Tuesday February 6, 1912. It was controversial from the day the 'Brown and Brant Street Bridge' project was first planned out in 1907. The structure was beset with problems from the day it first opened. An exasperated Alderman Blumberg once said on the floor of council that they should take that stretch of road and 'just give it back to the Indians', to which another Alderman said we should 'gift it back to Cleopatra'.

Sunset from the Rebchuk

Given that this is the 100th year of the start of her construction I will follow this up with a part 2: A history of the Arlington Street Overpass !

More Arlington Street Overpass photos
Arlington Street Overpass Temporary Closure City of Winnipeg
Bridges Homepage City of Winnipeg Public Works Dep't
Coming Soon: The history of the Arlington Street Overpass !


Grant Hamilton said...

If this was a facebook post, I would "like" it. I've always had a soft spot for the "iron monsters" as you call them.

There's something majestic about the intricate way the ironwork balances the load.

Really fascinating about the wood. There are still some old rural bridges that have enormous wooden beams supporting the asphalt above, and I've always thought they do a better job of dampening vibration as vehicle pass over.

mrchristian said...

Thanks !