While neither architecturally or historically important the Cloverdale footbridge over the North Saskatchewan River in central Edmonton below the Shaw Conference Centre developed many supporters among its frequent visitors – myself included – so was saddened to see its closure in recent days ahead of impending demolition as a new Light Rail Transit or LRT bridge is to be built on the site.

That the start of construction on this latest LRT branch line to the city’s south, dubbed the Valley Line,  comes so soon after the troubled Metro Line finally went into service two years later than originally planned and still not fully operational with a price tag taxpayers may never know because of ongoing claims against one supplier according to this article should serve as a wake-up call to city council that the Valley Line should be delayed and rethought not only for its impact on the five city parks it crosses but unresolved institutional shortcomings within the city’s planning department that caused major delays in a number of big budget infrastructure projects.

Despite the last LRT boondoggle however council seems intent on plowing ahead both figuratively and literally with the $1.8 billion dollar Valley Line for “the greater good” as the heavy equipment sat ready to demolish the footbridge that was opened after a two-year construction phase on July 9, 1978, weeks before the Edmonton Commonwealth Games were declared open by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  As a small segment of  the Trans Canada Trail, the world’s longest recreational trail network, the footbridge will be replaced with an LRT bridge with pedestrian access on a lower level according to the 2013 design elements as released by the city and reported in an Edmonton Sun article.

cloverdale

The design is similar to the LRT bridge that spans the river in the shadow of the High Level Bridge connecting the north side city centre with the south side University of Alberta Campus.

Days before the closure I crossed the footbridge one last time on an early morning bike ride and so had it all to myself for a few minutes and couldn’t resist snapping a took a few photos for posterity.

20160713_065608 photo by author

20160713_065354 photo by author
20160713_065306 photo by author
I will miss the footbridge which for me allowed a convenient cross-over between the two sides of the river valley trails and have already begun cursing the myriad of trail detours and closures this project and others have inflicted upon trail users.

At least until its next update the Cloverdale footbridge will live on in Google Maps.