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Bow River bridge to undergo repairs

BANFF – One of Banff’s historic landmarks is undergoing repairs and maintenance.
Bow River Bridge
One of Banff’s historic landmarks is undergoing important repairs and maintenance.

BANFF – One of Banff’s historic landmarks is undergoing repairs and maintenance.

Non-structural repairs to the near-century-old Bow River Bridge will fix concrete and rundlestone masonry on the bridge, which was designated as a municipal heritage resource in 2016.

Town of Banff officials say the bridge, built in the 1920s, is protected and any development or alterations affecting it must respect and conserve its heritage significance.

“It’s important work, mainly from an aesthetics perspective. This is a landmark icon in Banff,” said Stephen Allan, the Town of Banff’s engineering coordinator.

Council last month approved $87,930 to fully fund the $150,000 project. Council approved $50,000 in 2016 and the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation has kicked in $12,070.

From the bridge there are iconic views along the length of Banff Avenue to the base of Cascade Mountain, along with views of the river and mountains in all directions.

The bridge’s grand span, its globe lampposts and First Nations sculptures feature prominently in tourist photographs and local postcards.

Councillor Corrie DiManno voiced support for the additional funding.

“We designated this so I think we have to invest in it,” she said.

The first phase of work involves minor repairs of the stonework on the north side of the river at the pedestrian underpass. The other phase will see major repair work on pier five, including replacing the concrete apron and stone rehabilitation.

Allan said the work at pier five is much more significant and challenging.

Given the work will occur within the riverbed, he said this will be subject to a more rigorous environmental assessment by Parks Canada and will need to be completed during winter when the river level is lowest.

“Working in winter will require heating and hoarding of the concrete and masonry work,” said Allan.