Originally built in 1907, the Traffic Bridge was Saskatoon’s first bridge to carry vehicular traffic. The Traffic Bridge was designed as a 5-span Parker through truss and came into being when residents of the Village of Nutana agreed to merge with the Town of Saskatoon and the Village of Riversdale to form the City of Saskatoon. The heritage value of the Traffic Bridge lies in its status as a landmark in the community, its form, massing, and location, the engineering technology used (steel truss architecture), and the original concrete piers and abutments.
Throughout its 103-year history, the bridge has been used for horse and carriage, street car, and modern vehicle use. The bridge also has historical notoriety as Saskatoon’s only marine disaster when the sternwheeler S.S. City of Medicine Hat collided broadside into the southern-most pier of the bridge and sank on June 10, 1908.
The bridge was closed in August 2010 due to public safety concerns due to advanced deterioration of critical structural members. In 2010, the City commissioned a needs assessment and planning study of the Traffic Bridge, which investigated multiple alternatives and potential replacement, included extensive public consultation, regulatory review and debate, as well as City Council presentations. Many elements of the existing bridge were to be incorporated into the new bridge. Engineering studies were completed on the existing elements to determine strengths and compatibility with the new structure.
A P3 model was used for the design and construction of the replacement bridge. Many challenges presented themselves during the design and construction of the structure and these challenges provided unique resolutions. The bridge is currently under construction, and upon completion, the contractor will be responsible for the maintenance of the bridge for the next 30 years.