Community input has helped shape consultant Stantec's latest designs for the new bridge and associated road links. The scheme, including a scale model, was shown to residents at a public information session last week.

The preferred design for the 550m-long bridge has a network arch for its main span.

The other option is for a tub girder bridge. Both designs will be presented to the council, which will decide which will be built. The two concepts scored similarly on project evaluation criteria and both are seen as responding to public feedback by including key safety features, lookouts and opportunities to incorporate public art.

Arlington - Winnipeg - options

The network arch is described as directly responding to a public feedback request that the proposed design should be a distinct addition to the Winnipeg skyline. It allows the bridge to span the main rail line with less disruption and risk to what is a critical transportation link for eastern and western Canada. The network arch design scored slightly higher on overall project evaluation criteria.

The tub girder reflects a lower estimated project cost. However, it would be more difficult to construct and there would be an increased risk of additional project costs or delay because it requires an additional pier to support the bridge over the rail yard. It scored slightly lower on overall project evaluation criteria.

Residents are able to see their input reflected in the proposed bridge design, said project leaders, with community feedback helping inform elements ranging from lighting and safety to traffic flow.  More than a thousand residents spoke with the team during events last autumn and hundreds more completed surveys either in person or online. A community-driven project advisory committee (PAC) helped ensure that local perspectives were heard. “The Arlington Bridge connects two very diverse communities, and the public engagement campaign allowed us to ensure a wide range of voices were heard,” said Wayne Wyke, principal of Dufferin School and a member of the PAC.

Design plans for a new bridge are subject to council approval and the provision of funding for the project, which has an estimated cost of US$255 million.