Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • June-July 2024 • Circulation 5000


Latta Bridge Replacement Continues

Despite traffic interruptions, the benefits outweigh the inconvenience.

The Latta Bridge construction site as seen in early May. Leif Gregersen

The Latta Bridge (90th-91st Street on Jasper Avenue) has been closed since August 2022 to accommodate a bridge replacement project. The roadway will not re-open until fall of 2023 (estimated date). The resulting detour has presented some challenges for residents, visitors, the staff, students, and families at St. Teresa of Calcutta School, and the many others who use this section of Jasper Avenue to get to points east and west.

The new Latta Bridge is replacing a bridge built 87 years ago, in 1936. This is the third version of a small but important ravine crossing (see sidebar: First and Second Latta Bridges). Approximately 20,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day. The approved budget of $19.7 million is intended to cover the cost of demolition, rebuild, the installation of a new bridge deck and shared-use path, and landscaping.

The contractor, PCL Construction, has had one notable setback to date. “In April a girder rolled onto its side and a new girder has had to be fabricated,” says Nicole Boychuk, communications coordinator, Integrated Infrastructure Service, City of Edmonton. “We will keep the public informed about any potential changes to the project timeline,” she adds.

The detour reroutes traffic, mainly on 92nd Street and north and south of St. Teresa of Calcutta School. Speed bumps and other traffic-calming measures are in place. “To address shortcutting concerns,” Boychuk says, “we worked with the Edmonton Police Service and the community. The safety of both residents and construction workers is a priority, and we’re continuing to monitor and adjust.”

This writer’s informal and unscientific survey of the impact on local residents, the school, and businesses suggests that the detour and changes to the ETS service are being taken in stride. Those who live near Jasper Avenue on the east side of 91st Street are enjoying the temporary lack of traffic noise, particularly the sirens of ambulances and fire engines. A small shuttle bus (#998) now runs between Jasper Avenue and the Stadium LRT Station every 12 minutes. The shuttle also connects with frequently running bus routes 2, 3, and 101 just north of the station.

As a result, transit trips might be even better than before. Riverside Towers resident Ernie Koch certainly thinks so. “After 60 years, I have the best, most consistent, and convenient services ever. The LRT takes us wherever we need to go. It goes often and quickly.”

Another local who drives is going with the flow. He says, “I have learned to avoid the detour route, especially during rush hour and drop-off times at St. Teresa of Calcutta School.”

Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.

First and Second Latta Bridges
The first Latta Bridge was built in 1911 by its namesake, David Latta, an early resident of Edmonton whose home was on Jasper Avenue just to the west of the ravine. This relatively primitive wooden structure served the needs of the time. As more motorized and larger vehicles started to use the bridge, it became necessary to make improvements. But the Great Depression of the 1930s prevented the City from moving ahead. Finally, in 1936 the second bridge was completed, made possible by the availability of relief workers receiving low wages – a form of social assistance – and by using a lot of recycled materials, including components left over from the construction of the High Level Bridge. Filling in the ravine was considered but the old coal mines discovered underneath the crossing caused a problem. (See the article in the October, 2017 edition of Boyle McCauley News and an entry in the Forgotten Edmonton blog.)

Kinnaird Bridge
Rehabilitation of the nearby Kinnaird Bridge (on 82nd Street just south of 112th Avenue) began on May 1st, 2023. One lane of traffic in both directions and one sidewalk remain open. This project, combined with the ongoing closure of the Latta Bridge, has led drivers to find new routes.

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