Calgary is at a pivotal stage of its evolution and development, with urban design playing an increasingly important role in helping define and envision its future character. The bridges’ location is at the confluence of the Elbow and Bow Rivers, which is the founding site of Calgary. The Elbow River crossing separates Downtown from the historic Inglewood neighbourhood, and acts as a transition between the civic and the residential precincts. The 9th Avenue Bridge represents the union between diverse neighborhoods, where old meets new along the RiverWalk pathway.
The original 9th Ave Bridge over the Elbow River was built in 1909 to accommodate a new street car system. In its current state, the bridge’s deteriorating condition cannot support today’s high volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Therefore, a replacement is required to meet current design and engineering standards along this important transportation route.
The new bridge expresses the era of its construction rather than mimicking the character or form of the historic bridge. Based on feedback gathered from the public engagement, there was an overwhelming desire to have a bridge that demarcated a ‘gateway’ to and from historic Inglewood. This design takes cues from the historic camelback design, and reinterprets these elements in construction techniques consistent with modern times. The design embraces this notion of ‘gateway’ while maintaining views of the city skyline to the west, and the community of Inglewood to the east.
Consultant team led by WSP, Bridge architecture by Sturgess Architecture