CPR Bridge

  • Budget 2016 - CPR Pedestrian BridgeThe CPR Bridge over the Red Deer River was originally constructed in 1891 as a wooden trestle. The original spans over the river were replaced by the current steel truss through system in 1907. At the south end of the steel through truss system, there is a timber trestle system. A three span steel girder bridge was constructed immediately south of the timber trestle in 1961 to act as an underpass for 55 Street.
  • The CPR donated the entire structure to the City in 1990 and converted it to a pedestrian bridge in 1992.
  • On Sept. 3, 1991, Red Deer City Council passed a bylaw designating the rail bridge as a Municipal Historic Resource.
  • In 1993, the bridge was designated a Provincial Historic site, and in 2002 it was awarded a Heritage Recognition Award.
  • The bridge currently functions as a bicycle and pedestrian walkway and is an important connector of the Waskasoo Park trail network.
  • The bridge is Red Deer’s only example of a riveted steel, engineered truss, railway bridge, common throughout North America.

Project Overview

Based on an assessment of the bridge completed in 2013, the capital request addresses the required maintenance and repairs as well as safely remove the lead paint and re-coat the entire steel truss bridge.

Budget Requirement, Council Decision Points and Funding Sources

During day one of the 2016 capital budget debate on November 24, Council approved the following with funding from the Federal Grant Tax Fund (FGTF).

Repairs $255,000
Lead paint removal and recoating of bridge $3,472,000

Maintenance of the CPR Bridge - Q&A

Maintenance and repainting of the CPR Bridge is needed as the bridge is deteriorating and there are environmental concerns related to the lead paint.

Why do we need to repaint the bridge?

The CPR bridge is a municipal historic resource that is currently in need of repair and repainting to maintain the integrity of the bridge and manage environmental impacts related to the safe removal of existing lead paint. Removal of the lead paint was highlighted as a priority in an assessment conducted in 2013 because the paint is flaking into the Red Deer River. According to the assessment, the lead paint has an adhesive rating of average to poor, meaning that there is a continued risk of paint flaking into the river. Upon removal of the lead paint, the life expectancy of the new paint and repairs is 40 years.

Where is the lead paint located?

The lead paint is located primarily on the supporting structure and steel trusses. There is no lead paint on the wooden pedestrian boardwalk. The paint requiring removal was applied in 1907.

Why is the Bridge significant?

The CPR Bridge over the Red Deer River was originally constructed in 1891 as a wooden trestle. The bridge was donated to The City in 1990 and converted to a pedestrian bridge in 1992. On September 3, 1991, Red Deer City Council passed a bylaw designating the rail bridge as a Municipal Historic Resource. The bridge is now an essential connector for Red Deer’s highly used trail system. According to the counters in place since July 2015, an average of 700 people use the bridge on a daily basis.

What happens if the bridge is not maintained and repainted?

Right now, there is paint containing lead, flaking into the river system. If we do not repair the CPR Bridge and remove the lead paint that was formerly used to paint the bridge, there is an environmental risk that this paint will continue to fall into the river, potentially impacting the overall health of the Red Deer River and its ecosystem. Investments in this historical cultural asset responds to the unique connection people feel with Red Deer’s history and elements like the CPR Pedestrian Bridge.

Who will do the repairs and repaint the bridge?

Removal of lead paint is a specialized service; therefore, an external service provider would be sought to repair and repaint the bridge through a formal procurement process in accordance with City of Red Deer policy.

What is the cost of repairing and repainting the bridge?

Removal of the lead paint and recoating of the entire bridge will cost $3.4 million with additional repairs expected to cost $255,000. There are significant costs related to mitigating the risk from removal of the lead paint. During removal, the risk to workers, the public, soil, water, air and traffic is high. The risks will be reduced by the use of appropriate containment and work procedures.

When will the repairs and repainting happen?

Repair and repainting of the bridge will take place in 2016 after City Council approved the project during the 2016 Capital Budget debate in November 2015.