Calgary’s 108-year-old zoo bridge was lifted from its supports Monday morning and moved to a nearby island for dismantling.
The tricky task was initially scheduled for last week but was delayed due to weather and the discovery that the bridge actually weighed more than initially believed.
Jadwiga Kroman, the city’s manager of bridges and structures, said theoretical modelling suggested the span would weigh about 90 tonnes but it’s true weight turned out closer to 120 tonnes.
That prompted the decision to strip parts off the bridge before moving it.
“The bridge remains intact, so it’s good to be lifted, however, it doesn’t weigh as much,” Kroman said.
She said the bridge shed about 15 tonnes before being hoisted by a giant crane around 8 a.m. and moved to St. Patrick’s Island, where it will be fully dismantled over the coming weeks.
Some of the bridge’s elements could be preserved for use as public art, Kroman said.
‘Time marches on’
Numerous Calgarians came out to watch the bridge being moved, including Bernie Taylor, who lives in nearby East Village.
“It’s a beautiful structure, and to think that it was built for buggies and horses,” he said.
“It’s a shame to see it go, but time marches on.”
Also among the crowd was Eileen Cowan, making a return visit to the riverbank.
She had come out last Friday, too, in hopes of seeing the span soar through the air.
“I sat here for six hours the other day and they couldn’t move it, because they said the bridge was too heavy,” she said.
“So, I said to my son, ‘We got to get down there, because we’ll never see this again.'”
The city is replacing the bridge that connects St. George’s Island to 12th Street S.E. on the south bank of the Bow River in Inglewood.
“The next phase will be bringing precast panel deck and then finishing off the new deck and then putting railings along the pedestrian end and traffic lights and completing the bridge,” Kroman said.
The new bridge is scheduled to open later this year.
And just like that, it’s gone. #zoobridge #yyc pic.twitter.com/zeKyNNyp5I