A Few Bridges

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Last Sunday I went for a recreational bike ride for the first time since the summer, I think. I ride almost daily as transportation but somehow there has been no riding just for fun. Which just goes to show I’m not living my life right. It wasn’t a long ride, but just wandering around with no special destination or schedule to keep was a balm to my parched cyclist’s spirit.

I decided to take a short ride down to check out the new Walterdale bridge, recently opened after running two years behind schedule in construction.

On the way there I passed another sort of bridge: the temporary track being constructed for the Crashed Ice downhill skating race happening in a couple of weeks.

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Just a bit farther down the hill in speed to admire a mighty heap of snow. When the snow is cleared from one place it has to end up somewhere else, in this case piled up nearly to the height of a nearby bird’s nest.

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On the way to the new bridge I paused for a moment under one of the older ones. This is a very functional, non-decorative sort of structure but there is a pleasantly cavernous or cathedral-like atmosphere in the space beneath it with striking, if severe, linear character.

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The new Walterdale bridge is meant to be a signature feature of the city, and I do think they came pretty close to the mark. The curving East side pedestrian walkway isn’t open yet, so I had to make do with the less interesting west side path but I was suitably impressed with the impressively arched structure. Of course I’ve seen it from a distance but traveling across it is a different matter.

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The river below hasn’t quite opened up yet but the thaw can’t be far off now. In the distance you can see another signature Edmonton landmark ,the century old High Level Bridge. It is an open question what the future of that bridge is, as a recent engineering study reports that many of the components of the bridge have corroded to less than half of their original thickness. The bridge is still usable because it only carries automobile traffic now rather than also supporting loaded freight trains but any eventual major repairs would be very expensive.

On the way home I took the opportunity to ride a little bit of the river valley singletrack, and enjoyed the very good trail conditions and a riding surface well packed down by swarms of fatbikers.

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Instead of riding back up out of the valley I took a trip up the newly opened funicular just because I could.

One last point of interest before heading home was this sign featuring some very sinister looking icicles.

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