When one thinks about bridges in Edmonton, generally two come to mind, High Level Bridge, and Walterdale Bridge. However, Edmonton has several unique suspension bridges which deserve a little more attention.
Now for the architectural purists out there, not all these bridges are actually suspension bridges. However, in all these bridges, they all use cables for support and tie them together. The type of bridges in architectural terms will be noted as they are mentioned.
Here’s some notable suspension bridges in this River City.
Fort Edmonton Footbridge
The Fort Edmonton Footbridge links the Wolf Willow Ravine to the far end of Fort Edmonton Park. It’s a large piece of pedestrian infrastructure that can’t be missed.
It is a true suspension bridge which cost $28 million as a P3. At 250 metres long, the city claims as the second largest in Alberta.
The best way to access this bridge is via the Wolf Willow Stairs which will give you a stunning view of the river valley with the bridge going across the expanse. You can also park at Fort Edmonton and take a 15 minute walk to access it, but there’s not much to see along the trail.
To access this bridge by transit, take 33 West Edmonton Mall from Southgate Transit Centre. Stop at 58 Ave on Riverbend Road (Stop ID 4024). From there it’s a 14 minute walk. Follow 58 Ave west down the hill as Whitemud Road until you see a blue sign pointing to the multi-use trail leading to the footbridge. It is a unique location as there are actual residences behind Fort Edmonton Park.
Edmonton Country Club Bridge
There is a private suspension bridge located on the grounds of the Edmonton Country Club, the oldest private golf club in Alberta. The bridge is wide enough for golfers to take their golf carts across.
This bridge spans across from McClung Hill in the golf course and connects the back 9 with the front 9 holes.
Call for permission to visit as it is a private country club located in the Oleskiw neighbourhood (best to schedule after golfers have finished their day).
The Walterdale Bridge is not a ‘suspension’ bridge in most understandings of the word, but it does use cables to support it. It’s known as a through arch bridge, where the cables come down from the arch to the bridge deck.
Completed in 2017, it replaced the 105 Street Bridge which connected an historic Walterdale neighbourhood to Rossdale. There are two pedestrian crossings of the river, of which the larger multi-use trail on the east has a separated bridge deck.
Today, the Walterdale Bridge connects the Kinsmen Sports Centre, Walterdale Museum, and ᐄᓃᐤ (ÎNÎW) River Lot 11∞ Indigenous Art Park on the south, with Rossdale Burial Site, ReMax Field, and the Alberta Legislature grounds on the north.
To access, walk south from downtown Edmonton on 105 Street.
Deep Sea Adventure Lake Bridge
The suspension bridge inside West Edmonton Mall exists as a decorative element and not for its structural needs. If you observe closely, the ropes do not offer any support to the bridge. Despite its short crossing, it spans across a body of water claimed as the world’s largest indoor lake?
At Christmastime, the bridge is decorated with lights to add festive elements.
Take route 100 from downtown to West Edmonton Mall.
Terwillegar Park Footbridge
The Terwillegar Park Footbridge is classified as a stressed ribbon bridge, which is similar to the design of the classic wooden suspension footbridges, but with additional supports for stability across a long expanse.
The bridge is 262 metres long and is the least accessible bridge featured. It is very strange for such a large-scale project in the city to be built to serve so few people in its public accessibility.
By car, park at Terwillegar Park and walk 700 metres east along the trail back towards the trees.
By transit, take route 38 and get off at the Rabbit Hill Road Loop (stop 4461) where the bus turns back up the road. Walk 1.5km to the bridge in about 18 minutes. Walk down the hill to Terwillegar Park and turn back in towards the trees using the trail. Note that this bus has limited hours.
If you’re trying to access the $24.5 million bridge by transit any other time, good luck. We’re not bothering to try to find the directions for you.
This last bridge on the list, Tawatinâ Bridge, is currently under construction, but when completed, it will be a thing of beauty. It replaces the Cloverdale Footbridge and will have a multi-use trail element with rail crossing.
Tawatinâ (or Tawatinaw) is Cree for “river which divides the hills” or “river valley,” fitting name for a bridge which Valley Line tram will be using to connect Southeast Edmonton with Downtown.
From what we can find, this extradosed bridge, which combines box girder and cable-stayed elements, will be 260 metres in length. The $391 million bridge was initially supposed to be completed in 2019, but has now been delayed to 2020.
To access this bridge when complete, get off at Muttart stop on the Valley Line. Alternatively, you may take the 100 Street Funicular down the hill and walk along the Commonwealth Walkway.
Did we miss any other suspension bridges in Edmonton? Let us know!