Edmonton is blessed with the one of the largest urban park networks in the world and its 18,000 acres sprawl along the North Saskatchewan River filling many ravines, parks and  nooks and crannies. With such an abundance of green space there’s lots of areas to like but one corner I’ve come to love for its shady trails is Mill Creek Ravine and so it was with pleasure that I learned that a City of Edmonton project to rehabilitate or replace century-old railway trestles being used for pedestrian trails was completed  months ahead of schedule, a public works aberration as a number have runs years over schedule and millions over budget, and the bridges reopened to the public.

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The city’s plan called for a year-long $7.7 million project to rehabilitate two trestle bridges and replace one trestle and two glulam (glued-laminated timber) bridges, all of which had been closed to the public in October 2017.

The trestle bridges were built in 1902 for The Edmonton, Yukon and Pacific Railway but after the the railway’s  decommissioning in 1958 were eventually converted to pedestrian use in the 1970’s as part of an expanding river valley trail system. Due to the historical significance of the bridges and largely as a result of public feedback the city’s plan saw 20-25% of the original wood used in the rehabilitation to maintain their authentic look and feel and after touring the bridges feel they accomplished that goal masterfully.

There are some modern touches to the heritage feel wooden bridges including bike rails on both side of the stairs leading from the upper level down to the creek side trails.

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The trestle bridges are in Edmonton’s south side Ritchie and Avonmore neighborhoods and looked ready to stand for another hundred years in the early morning Summer sun.

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The trails in Mill Creek Ravine are part of the 160-kilometres of maintained multi-use trails in Edmonton’s river valley. A map of the whole network may be found here.

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