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.
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.
For most, the parapet is a metal bumper. This includes the Midtown, Osborne and Louise bridges.
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.)
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.
Outdated bridge rail not unsafe Winnipeg Free Press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