Thursday, 19 January 2012

A Disraeli Death

Disraeli Bridge Construction

I was saddened to hear about the death of the young woman who crashed over the Disraeli Bridge yesterday. As a weekly user of the bridge, I know how difficult it can be to maneuver through it with all those construction barricades. That, along with icy roads, make it downright treacherous.

Skyline from the Disraeli
Disraeli Bridge

Sadly, the Disraeli is one of at least two major city bridges that don't have some sort of parapet protecting vehicles from directly hitting the outer fencing. The Osborne Street Bridge is the other. Both are in the process of being replaced.

Donald Street Bridge
Midtown Bridge
The Arlington Street Overpass
Arlington Street Bridge
Louise Bridge
Louise Bridge

For most, the parapet is a metal bumper. This includes the Midtown, Osborne and Louise bridges.

Roadside Memorial
Kildonan Settlers Bridge
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Provencher Bridge

Proposed Disraeli Bridge (source)

Proposed Osborne Street Bridge (source)

The new standard for city bridges appears to be the now familiar combination concrete and metal barrier.
This can be found on the Midtown, Slaw Rebchuk, Kildonan Settlers and Provencher bridges and appear in the artist's drawings of the new Osborne and Disraeli designs. The Clement Parkway uses just a concrete parapet. (For more on the city's use of roadside barriers.)

Under the Disraeli
Under the Disraeli

Back in 2008 I took these photos of the top and bottom side of what I thought was a rather scary looking (to my untrained eye) state of decay of the Disraeli's outer barrier.
Thank goodness it is in the process of being replaced, (after spending who knows how many years looking like this.)

There's been a lot of talk about our crumbling infrastructure and the desperate need to replace it. Still, when push comes to shove, politicians, (with the support of many voters), are still enamored with shiny baubles such as $130m suburban street widenings and $110m inner ring roads while more urgent concerns are shunted off to some future date when a big pot of money will, apparently, land at Portage and Main and make the infrastructure deficit disappear.

Maybe we need to give our heads a shake and get serious about repairing and replacing substandard infrastructure sooner rather than later.

Related media:
Outdated bridge rail not unsafe Winnipeg Free Press
Crash Victim: Kaitlyn Fraser Winnipeg Free Press
Disraeli condition questioned CBC Manitoba

A history of the Disraeli Bridge West End Dumplings
Bridges Homepage City of Winnipeg
Disraeli bridges Project City of Winnipeg
City Unveils ($700m) Transportation Plan CTV


One Man Committee said...

What a tragic series of events - sympathies to the family and friends who lost a loved one in all of this.

The lack of parapets or any kind of separation between the sidewalk and the road on some of Winnipeg’s bridges seemed more of a threat to pedestrians than drivers. That’s mainly because bridges can be very slippery as we’ve seen, and the sidewalk is usually very close to the traffic lanes. The thought crossed my mind numerous times when walking across the Osborne Bridge that if one driver happened to drop a coffee in their lap and get distracted, it could be lights out for me as a pedestrian. This incident shows that it isn’t only pedestrians who should be concerned about this.

Anonymous said...

Expect to see many more accidents when the new S-shaped Disraeli Freeway opens. Coming from Main Street you'll hang a right, then a left, another right and another left to get to Henderson Highway.
This 'project',when finished, should be renamed the Doer-Katz Deathway, as Doer supplied the extra money to replace both bridges rather than the original rehab plans, and Sam et al approved the new sexy curved design.
Researchers are hard at work, but at this time there is still no cure for stupid.