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Major milestone reached for Edmonton’s Valley Line LRT: tawatinâ Bridge connected

September 17, 2020

The concrete closure pour to complete the span of the 260 metre long tawatinâ Bridge was completed last week as part of the ongoing $1.8 billion Valley Line LRT – Stage 1 project in Edmonton. This is a major milestone for the whole project team, and an exciting new feature for Edmontonians to enjoy in the river valley.

Twenty-eight stay cables and 12,400 tonnes of concrete are working together to hold this extradosed cable stayed bridge above the North Saskatchewan River Valley.

TransEd highlights this accomplishment in this video:

The City of Edmonton’s Project Agreement for the Valley Line LRT – Stage 1 (publicly available here) notes “The tawatinâ Bridge will be directly experienced by passengers, by pedestrians and cyclists using the shared-use path system, by passersby in vehicles and by boaters on the river.” The Project Agreement mandated “the tawatinâ Bridge… be an extradosed bridge with a slender superstructure profile substantially supported by the cables connecting the superstructure to the two pylons forming part of the North River Pier.”

Next Steps

While this is indeed a significant milestone, a large amount of work remains to complete the project. The top deck has more work ahead before the two sets of tracks can be laid. Lighting will be installed up and down the main support towers. Wiring and support poles for the Overhead Catenary System to power the new, low-floor trains is also outstanding. Lastly, the 8-meter wide shared-use path (SUP) will be suspended below the train deck. The SUP will include wooden walkway planks along each side in addition to a smooth asphalt surface down the centre. 

What’s in a name?

“tawatinâ” is a Cree term for “big valley.” It’s a fitting name for this river crossing in North America’s largest urban parkland. To say it aloud, it is roughly “da-wah-din-ow” (a much clearer audible link is available here).  


DIALOG, as part of the connectEd Transit Partnership (CTP), is acting as the Owner’s Engineer for the Valley Line LRT to provide project/program management, consulting services (structural, mechanical and electrical engineering, urban design, architectural design) for preliminary design, engineering services for the procurement of two P3 consortia, and design reviews.

Bridge Design

Credit for the bridge design itself belongs to Arup. “As the lead designer and engineer of record, Arup has worked collaboratively with TransEd and American Bridge to come a step closer to realizing this multi-modal and cost-effective design that will be an asset to the local community. The bridge spans across the North Saskatchewan river in a beautiful natural valley in the heart of the City.” – Matt Carter, Arup Americas Bridge Skills Leader.

The full Valley Line LRT Stage 1 is aiming to be complete in 2021.