CONNECTION BETWEEN WINNIPEG'S DOWNTOWN AND OSBORNE VILLAGE COMPLETE
– – – Osborne Bridge refurbishment features numerous enhancements
For Immediate Release
Friday, October 26, 2012
WINNIPEG – Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are now fully able to cross the Assiniboine River between Osborne Village and the city’s downtown via a newly refurbished Osborne Street Bridge, which was built in 1882 and reconstructed in 1977. This refurbishment project has extended the service life of the structure by 75 years.
Today, Premier of Manitoba Greg Selinger, City of Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz, Winnipeg Arts Council Executive Director Carol Phillips and Nick Kowalchuk of the Osborne Bridge Neighbourhood Advisory Committee joined together to officially reopen the bridge.
“The Osborne Bridge is one of Manitoba’s busiest routes for vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian traffic. Whether you’re in a car, on a bike or walking, the new, wider Osborne Bridge will get you where you’re going more safely and efficiently,” said Premier Selinger. “Investing in roads and bridges like this is a priority for Manitobans and it’s part of our commitment to keep improving infrastructure across the province.”
“This extremely well executed project has brought new life back to this critical structure with features that range from the thought-provoking public art to safety provisions for cyclists and pedestrians,” said Mayor Katz. “And all of this was accomplished without having to close the bridge completely.”
The $16.8-million project, which began in the spring of 2011, took less than two years to complete and was finished both on time and on budget.
Costs of $7.2 million were covered by the Province of Manitoba.
This project also involved the input of a Neighbourhood Advisory Committee (NAC) made up of stakeholders that included businesses and the cycling community. This committee developed project goals and worked closely with municipal representatives and the consulting team to ensure the needs of the community were considered.
Recommendations through this collaborative process led to many additional enhancements, including:
Separate accommodation for cyclists leading from the bridge to the Assiniboine Avenue-Granite Way half signal crossing, including Winnipeg’s first dedicated bike signal.
Well-aligned pedestrian pathways to the Legislative Building grounds and river walks.
Permanent bike entry point to the Active Transportation system on the upper bank at Mostyn Park.
Widened transition for cyclists from the bridge to the roadway at the southwest corner.
“I thoroughly enjoyed serving on the NAC and being involved in the rehabilitation process,” said Shauna Charmichael who represents the Osborne Village Community Garden Group. “I was able to give valuable feedback from my community easily, and it has been amazing to observe the construction process watching everyone’s ideas, hard work and vision come to fruition.”
The City of Winnipeg also partnered with the Winnipeg Arts Council to integrate public art into the design of the bridge structure.
Titled From Here Until Now, artists Eduardo Aquino and Karen Shanski created a design that marks and celebrates two distinct neighbourhoods on each side of the Assiniboine River. The art project consists of three main components:
The sidewalk, integrating the neighbourhood’s physical map translated into contrasting concrete tones and stainless steel trimming.
The bridge handrails, featuring LED lighting and inscribed text reflecting historical, social and cultural neighbourhood moments.
Two illuminated gateway zones at both bridge entries, celebrating four important architectural elements of the neighbourhood’s history.
“The neighbourhoods surrounding the Osborne Bridge have a rich history and an active present,” said Tricia Wasney, Public Art Manager for the Winnipeg Arts Council. “This artwork highlights that vibrancy and community spirit.”
Each day, 42,000 vehicles travel over the Osborne Bridge.