An overhead shot of 24th Street taken from Google Maps.
Known as the City of Bridges it should come as no surprise that the City of Saskatoon is mulling over the idea of adding another core bridge at 24th Street.
The idea will be presented at a Feb. 25 open house with the launch of a new public consultation process dubbed Growingfwd.ca. There, director of planning and development, Alan Wallace said consultants will bring the idea forward and gauge the public’s reaction.
“We’re talking about core bridge capacity and that’s really tied to things like transit and higher volumes of traffic into our city centre,” Wallace said Tuesday.
The idea of a 24th Street Bridge first came to light in the City Centre Plan, where the administration concluded it’s cheaper to build a new bridge rather than widening and adding lanes to an existing bridge, such as the University Bridge.
Wallace said the idea for the 24th Street Bridge is to act at a twin bridge to alleviate congestion on the University Bridge.
“It would have to be at the top of the University Bridge connected somehow to College Drive, but instead of going down 25th Street it would aim to bring people down 24th Street and there would be some relief of the pressure we’re going to experience once we get to 500,000,” Wallace said.
With a growth rate of two per cent projected for Saskatoon, they expect the population to cross half-a-million by 2060. Another proposed location for a river crossing is 33rd Street. Pedestrian and cyclist pathways connecting to the Meewasin Valley Authority would be included in either bridge.
Wallace said more bridge capacity in the city centre would also aim to improve public transit. As the city continues to push the idea of rapid transit on buses and better service along busy streets like 8th Street and College Drive, city planners want to have the proper infrastructure in place to accommodate a robust public transit system.
“We’re growing out and those people will want to come to the city centre and we want them to have the same level of service on the roads they currently experience, or better.”
Despite not having secured any funding for the North Commuter Parkway and Traffic Bridge replacement projects, Wallace said they still need to plan ahead because once those projects do have funding, they will accelerate plans for the next bridge.
“The future is not going to stand still for us while we secure funding. It’s something we should do right now and it’s always good to look ahead,” Wallace said.
Growing Forward will launch this week and parallels the work being done on Shaping Saskatoon. Both initiatives look to engage the public online and get feedback on projects the city proposes.