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Changing Direction on the High Level Bridge

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  • Changing Direction on the High Level Bridge

    Some of us are old enough to remember when another river crossing from the south side to downtown was more than just wishfull thinking. There are even some strangely unnatural earth formations to the east of Kinsmen Centre that bear witness to it.

    Some of us also remember when the idea was moth-balled as being ahead of its time and too expensive. On an "interim" basis, the High Level bridge and the Walterdale Bridge were turned into a "one way couplet" with Walterdale northbound and High Level southbound.

    Now that the "rat-hole" is but a memory, along with other changes in the past two decades, it is time to revisit the logic and reverse the two.

    If the High Level bridge was northbound, traffic coming downtown would be able to do so "top of bank to top of bank". All it would take would be a change of direction for a short stretch of Saskatchewan Drive visitors to the Capital City could approach the river valley and then cross it without losing direction - what a novel idea.

    This is the Capital City and would mean coming into downtown would take one past the Legislative Building as you enter downtown. For traffic not going downtown, continuing north on 109th Street makes much more sense that trying to use 105th street or getting to an alternative northbound street.

    105th Street would now not have to be a major one-way arterial dividing a predominantly residential neighborhood on a too narrow right of way. Downtown access would also be less dependant upon decent weather in order to be able to get up the hill at all. If there was a northbound rush hour accident, wouldn't it be nice to still be able to take an alternative route (Grout or 99th) instead of already being too far down either of the one way roads merging onto Walerdale to do anything but sit.

    As far as leaving downtown, there are more access points from the core down to Walterdale than there is to the High Level. This "dispersal" should ease rather than contribute to congestion. At worst, it might be a little more time consuming and/or difficult to leave downtown than to get there. Perhaps that would encourage more activity downtown? Perhaps that would encourage development in the north and northeast to be as attractive as moving further to the south and the west rather than spreading future growth out a little more evenly? Perhaps it means that adding northbound capacity in the future by utilizing the upper deck would be much less expensive or disruptive than finally building a new bridge? Perhaps this means we could "reclaim" some of the roadways through and around Rossdale? Perhaps this could be done in conjunction with the Province's plans for integrating the Legislative Grounds into the downtown and into the river valley?

    Alas, perhaps this isn't a big enough "mega-project" to get anyone's attention. After all, it only affects the quality of life for those that already live here. Besides, this is Edmonton - we never change our minds (or our directions) except when it comes to airports do we?
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

  • #2
    well said ken



    • #3
      Could it be set up to be north bound during the morning and southbound during the rest of the day?

      (It would take some interesting traffic controls and likely large, obvious traffic control arms at either end).


      • #4
        I don't know if a northbound High Level Bridge would work, but I do see the merit in a two-way Walterdale bridge. Northbound traffic could continue on Gateway Boulevard, and Walterdale Hill could be made two-way, with Gateway/QE Park Road merging at the bridge.

        I agree, I think there has to be more southbound accesses from downtown. If a new bridge at Walterdale is built, there would be more options for motorists, and Walterdale Hill could accommodate more traffic.
        "Talk minus action equals zero." - Joe Keithley, D. O. A.


        • #5
          I think I'll have to look at the thesaurus word for Walterdale. My last post had five occurrences.
          "Talk minus action equals zero." - Joe Keithley, D. O. A.


          • #6
            I really like this idea. It would be a pretty radical shift for everyone in the beginning, but I think it would make a lot more sense than what we've got right now. I think for this to work we'd need Walterdale Bridge to be completely southbound, and a new northbound bridge to be built for Queen E Park Road traffic though. We don't want a light at the bottom of the hill backing traffic up over the bridge and up Queen E Park Road. This would allow for north and southbound traffic in the Walterdale Bridge area, and purely Northbound traffic on the High Level (which I think is going be as close to a corridor as we're going to get). Bonus points if southbound traffic from 109th north of the river can be given a nice hassle-free (i.e. minimal lights) route to Walterdale.


            • #7
              Why not make the high level bridge 2 levels

              i LIKE YOUR IDEA,

              Would it not be possible to convert the upper level that the trolley uses
              into south or north bound traffic?
              It could start from the southside just north of whyte ave from 103st
              then continue where the tracks are now, then use the tunnel at 109st to get onto the upper deck and end at 99st or 100st Downtown.

              just a thought....